Does our free will give us the capacity to choose our responses to life? Or, are we forever to be caught in a cycle of habit and reaction to what life brings?
Guilt is the feeling we have when we have made a mistake. Shame is the feeling that we are a mistake. Let us not confuse the two, and whenever possible, let us help others not confuse the two.
No human being is a mistake! All human beings make mistakes.
While on a Courage & Renewal retreat in 2015, an older White fellow lamented about how the political correctness on college campuses stifles free speech. Recently, an Op-Ed columnist wrote about the rabid nature of moral judgment on college campuses in the U.S.
The idea that we have fallen into a quagmire of political correctness is gaining momentum. Trump’s success is partially based on his resisting considering that what he says and does might negatively affect others. And that he should care about that.
[bctt tweet=”No human being is a mistake! All human beings make mistakes.”]
Are youth on campuses (and other places—but our classist society focuses on college campuses) attempting to live out their values using peer pressure and influence? Are they trying to bring moral regulation because relying on people to use introspection and circumspection has not given us a just nation? Are they not so much shaming others (as they have been accused of doing) as exposing things that should—in a just society—produce guilt?
I find those who insist on saying whatever they please are more of a problem than those who aspire to create a culture in which all people are affirmed.
Free speech is not speech that I have to listen to, or formulate an argument in opposition to, or allow to enter my home. If my free speech hurts another that is my opportunity to listen to and respect their realities.
I am an anti-racist core trainer. I upset White people all the time. I do it when I tell the truth about the racialized history of our nation and church. White fragility makes the true statements about race problematic. And when some White people are upset, their fear or anger gets poured out on the heads of people of color.
I do not object to the young (or people of any other generation) trying to establish environs that nurture rather than diminish the least of these. Before other generations go all hoity-toity on the youth on our college campuses, let us be clear that previous generations have done a really poor job at providing a land of opportunity to all, regardless of gender, race, abilities, age or sexuality.
We are free to choose to evolve and grow. Maybe we shouldn’t feel shame, but guilt for what we might have said or done to hurt others. And for that, God’s Spirit has a cure.