“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” (Maya Angelou)
That was today’s quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
The fact is that we do know better about al lot of things; but, many just choose not to do better.
We know that racism is not right, yet we let racist thoughts dictate our reactions to people and situations involving people of color. We know that homophobia is unwarranted, yet we shrink away from the gay person out of some fear or false disgust. We know that there is no basis for gender based discrimination, yet we continue to tolerate a huge inequity in pay and advancement for women in business. We know that we could do more to help the homeless or the hungry, yet we look the other way and hurry past them on the streets. We have been told by health experts that wearing a mask in public can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, yet many refuse to don a mask or wear it in such a way as to render it ineffective. We know better.
What causes this disconnect between knowing better and doing better? Do we learn anything from the man in the news report who is dying saying that he should have heeded the warnings and avoided getting the virus; or, do we continue to let ego or pride, ignorance or stubbornness get in the way of logic and acceptance of the obvious truths? We know better.
It is hard to understand how so many people can come to such different conclusions about things like wearing a mask to protect others or trying to understand and be accepting and inclusive instead of turning to fear or hate in matters of race or sexual preference. Perhaps systemic prejudices are the masters of hiding in plain sight; and most of these are systemic in nature. We know better.
A popular fashion item of several years ago were the little bracelets with WWJD embossed into them or printed on them. They were meant to help the wearer stop and consider “What Would Jesus Do”? The assumption was that thinking about the teachings and guidance that Jesus provided would help the wearer do the right thing. One doesn’t see those bracelets much any more and certainly doesn’t see people stopping to ask themselves that question as much anymore. We know better.
Perhaps at the root of these differences in behavior today is the acceptance or rejection of religion and faith in God as the moral foundation of life. If one does not have that foundation to point to what is better, then one has no reason to do better and may not even be capable of recognizing what is the right thing to do. However, if one claims to be a Christian and a follower of the teachings of Jesus, then one has no excuse not to be doing better. We know better.
The term Fake News become popular over the last four years. Perhaps what we have also seen are Fake Christians – those who proclaim loudly that they are Christians and then go out and demonstrate behavior that is anything but what Christ taught. They know better, but they choose not to do better. We know better.
What can you do as an individual? The best thing is to actually do what is right, what is better; to live your life in such a way as to serve as an example to others of what is better. There are times when you must take the next step and act on what you know is better by not “going along to get along” or not allowing yourself to be swept up in the moment, as some who stormed our nation’s capital claimed afterwards. There are even times when you must proactively try to influence the actions of others to prevent them from harming themselves or others. We know better.
We know better. Now, let’s go out and do better.
Live like you know what Jesus would do and follow Him. We know better. Let’s do better!