I had a series of discussions with a Jehovah’s Witness some years ago, but our dialogue came to an end when she told me I was questioning her sincerity. This troubled me, but I had to let her go as she chose to go, which was out of my life.
I was thinking about her and our ending within the context of our country’s political life recently. Both sides are passionate. Both sides believe they speak the truth. Both are sincerely invested in their position. They are, in a word, sincere.
I try to listen to a little of each of them every week to keep up with what is being said, because real, life-changing decisions are—or are not—being made in Washington, D.C., and locally as a result of sincerely and strongly held positions.
This reminded me of “Sara” and how when our discussions and friendship ended, they ended in a heap of judgment. She saw her sincerity as evidence of her truth. By rejecting her truth, she saw me as judging her sincerity.
If today’s pundits and politicians would make a distinction between sincerity and truth, there would be less vitriol. Because really, who holds all the truth?
It is possible to be very sincere without having to be correct. A person disagreeing with something I sincerely believe in is not questioning my sincerity (for example, a sincere love of God and country) but the ways I have chosen to live out that sincerity, which may be different than how you do it.
These differences do not make one of us wrong and the other of us right.