Day 22

Be careful of our outrage and indignation, far better that we should spend our time in small ways to improve the conditions of those we recognize in need of some filling.

I come from a long line of protestors. My dad is really good at this. I remember back in the day various things we were not allowed to see, taste, touch or purchase: foreign cars, Coke (the drink not the drug), McDonald’s, and more. I cannot remember why we protested these products but my dad is a man of conviction and he taught us how to take a stand. Choosing NOT to buy a foreign made car was not the same thing as giving up all transportation with wheels. He had a Pontiac Firebird that could giddy up and go!

Today, many of us are advocates and protestors in a variety of forms. My friend Anne convinced me to give up artificial sweeteners. My daughter-in-law Brittany does not use microwaves. I admire people with convictions that they follow through on.

However, there’s a cautionary tale needed telling as it relates to the potential dark side of strong convictions. Sometimes we end up getting all judgmental toward people who may not share our passions to be against one thing or another.

Do you have an iPhone? Most of us do. It’s quite recognizable world-wide. Did you know that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, young and unprotected children extract coltan, which is used in iPhones and other electronic devises? The manufacturer of iPhones, Foxconn, allegedly at one time ran the largest sweatshop in China.[1] (Read tomorrow’s devotional before you throw away your iPhone.)

I have not given up my iPhone. But I am thinking about my dad’s example, and what it means to engage in the world as a person with a certain way of seeing. When I use my iPhone, what is the cost to a kid in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Or China?

Here’s what I am doing. I’m not quite so quick to be all judgy judgy pants when someone reaches over and grabs a packet of artificial sweetener, even the dreaded pink kind. Because who am I to judge? It’s just as likely that I’m clicking away on my phone, trying to keep current with my emails or check the forecast to gauge my optimal walking time. What right do I have to judge you for the use of Splenda?

How can we make a difference without going to the place of condemnation and judgment when others are making choices that we find potentially objectionable?







[1] For the supporting documents to this allegation, I point you to footnotes 8 and 9, section 1, p. 213 in Volf’s book Flourishing.


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