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Suppose you had ten runners participating in a 100-yard dash. They all begin at the same spot, but they finish the race differently. In our rational world, we expect this outcome. We believe this so much that we pull for our favorite runner, knowing that there will be one winner and the rest are “losers.” Though they all had the same opportunity, they did not have the same outcome. That makes sense, right?
Of course, someone will pipe up and say that they did not start at the same place. Each runner did not have the same opportunity, e.g., better coaches, better gear, access to training facilities, faster twitch muscle fibers, etc. They are correct, which proves my point: all people are unequal. Rather than admitting this obvious truth, they want to make the start and finish the same for everyone. No matter who you are, you’re equal in opportunity and outcome—a perspective that is untenable and unreasonable.
For example, a basketball player who is five foot five inches will not compete like a person who is fifteen inches taller. The lady who can bench 100 pounds is not the same as the man who benches 500. A Mensa member thinks differently from the rest of us; the artist and engineer start and finish in different places. People are not the same. Most conservatives understand what I’m saying, but what many of them do not perceive is how they act similarly to the far-left liberal whom they decry on this matter.
I call this a “collective judgment.” We group a person into a category and then judge him according to the category. This worldview is a Utopian, left-leaning concept. Here are seven random illustrations highlighting how conservatives think like those on the “other side.” I will start my examples by talking about my sphere—the biblical counseling movement. My point is to motivate you to think with more complexity about an individual or group and to stop blindly categorizing everyone a particular way based on elementary school observations.
Biblical Counselors – If you ask the average church member what a certified biblical counselor means, they will say that it’s a person trained to counsel folks formally. As you delve deeper into what they mean, you will unearth the false formula that says certification equals qualification. Though zillions of us know this formula is wrong, many Christians think that if a person “becomes certified,” they can counsel. It’s not just untrue, but it’s dangerous. I talk about this false notion in my Life Over Coffee podcast, Ep. 254 The Repercussions of Being a Certified Biblical Counselor. All certified biblical counselors are not the same. There are many of them with a piece of paper whom you should steer away from if you want help.
Counseling – Part of the problem with certified biblical counselors who do not counsel well is that they don’t have the God-given gifting to do so. They have a burden to care for others, which is commendable. Every “burden to do something” is not a call to do it. These inferior counselors learn counseling thoughts, ideas, techniques, and methods. Because they don’t have the gift for the discipline, they can only replicate what they heard in their training, which, in many cases, does not fit the person who needs to hear God’s truth in a specific, customizable way. You see Christ “counseling well” in John 3 and 4, where two people—Nicodemus and Samaritan woman—have the same problem (John 3:7), but His counsel was specific to them. There are many counselors with a certificate who do not have the depth of insight and mental acuity to make these distinctions.
Parenting – Did you know that more than one child in the same family are different? Of course, you do, and because each child starts at a different place, you parent each one uniquely. Sometimes a child will attempt to manipulate a parent by saying, “It’s unfair. You treat me differently from Biffy.” The wise parent does not believe in equal opportunity or outcomes. They don’t succumb to the manipulations. For example, you have a black and white child, and then there is an 18 percent gray child. You have the one who excels in math and the other in English. The list is endless. No child begins in the same place as their sibling, and they cannot end with equal outcomes. The parent’s job is to equip a child in the direction that he should go. You discern the person’s uniqueness and then come alongside them, creating, encouraging, and providing insight that fits that unique child.
The Political Left – All liberals are not the same. My pastor shared a graphic that said 80-plus percent of Republicans believe that Democrats are racists, and about the same percentage of Democrats think Republicans are racists. This kind of thinking is not just fallacious, but it’s detrimental to discussions that should lead to reconciliation. If you look on the other side of the aisle and see all “of them” as the same, you’re making a significant error in judgment.
Demographic You Disdain – Pick a demographic that is a temptation for you to judge uncharitably. Perhaps it is skin color, intellectual level, religious preference, weight size, gender, vocation, and so forth. When you see a person working that job or affiliated with that organization or behaving a certain way, do you have a stereotypical judgment of that person? Do you clump him into the whole and stamp your disapproval over him? We all have done this? Pick your human irritant, and you will see the temptation to castigate all those who fit within the spectrum of what bothers you. In my Independent, Fundamental Baptist days, I had an unkind perspective on any man with long hair. The hair revealed his heart, you could say. I trust you know how idiotic that kind of thinking is.
Church – All churches are the same, right? When you talk to some people, you could very well conclude this. Typically, in such situations, a church hurt them, and they are reacting to a legitimate situation. Part of that reaction is clumping all churches in the same trash heap, and then the victim becomes the foolish sinner as they castigate all churches as evil. They may go on anti-religion rants and use the process of verificationism to prove their point. (A person with a presupposition who finds support to what they already believe and then condemns the collective based on a few data points that they found that affirmed what they wanted to think.) If your discernment limits you this way, I appeal to you to find help. Another illustration of this is the person who had a horrific marriage; they divorce and judge all men (or women) as dangerous.
Social Justice Warriors (SJW) – In our effort to stamp out every social justice warrior, we are trampling over a few lives associated with but not like the rabid adherents of Critical Theory. If you clump every SJW in the same pile and burn them all, you have made a mistake. It’s like saying that all gays are not Christian without thinking through the complexity of gayness, and how many men and women are bent this way but don’t want to be. If you shoot them all, you may feel better about yourself for your eradication efforts, but you have sinned mightily in the process. I have counseled many gay folks who wanted my help, not my judgment. Thousands of SJWs only hear the scorn of us when more wisdom, courage, and compassion could be the remedy to their confusion.
As you can see in all of these illustrations, if you act like the far-left liberal, who believes we’re all the same, you will make many mistakes in your zealous ignorance. If you’re open to self-analysis, I want you to think through the entrapping sequence that leads to this type of worldview. Here are the seven sequential steps that will lead anyone to irrational thinking about others.
You want to be careful about these collective judgments over people who do not think and act as you do because you’re making fatal heart observations about them, and you do not have that kind of insight. Before you judge every person that is part of the group you dislike, you need to understand why they think that way. Here are six potential reasons a person may advocate for something that you dislike.
You can add to my list of seven ways a conservative may act like the far-left by mass-grouping. There is incredible diversity in humanity, and within every group, you will find it. Our responsibility should be to celebrate the differences, not to make the “collective mistake,” and to help your unique neighbor become a better person.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).