OPINION: Living with kindness AND conviction produces confidence

By Todd E. Brady


Cancel Culture has many people hesitant to say or do anything.  They feel that whatever they say will come across wrong.  On the other hand, they feel that if they stay silent, it too will come across wrong.  They don’t feel they can win either way.

I recently saw were someone innocently posted, “I prefer mangoes to oranges.”  A random person replied, “So basically what you’re saying is you hate oranges? You also failed to mention pineapples, bananas, and grapefruits. Educate yourself.  I am literally shaking.”  This is the insane world in which we live.

How can we live with confidence in the midst of a culture that is overly offended and quick to cancel?

When Jesus came into the world, he came “full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:14)  The key seems to be there–in the “and” of grace and truth.

Balancing kindness (grace) and conviction (truth) seems the way to walk with confidence when so many seem to be walking on eggshells.  The answer lies not in either kindness or conviction, but in both kindness and conviction. 

Like two wings on an airplane, both are necessary.  One without the other may seem helpful in the moment, but both are essential for the long haul.

Kindness without conviction can end up being mushy sentimentality.  Conviction without kindness can end up being hard-nosed legalism.  If you show an abundance of kindness to the neglect of conviction, you might be accused of spineless niceness.  If you show conviction without kindness, you might be accused of hatemongering.

Holding convictions does not give me the right to be unkind to others.  Being kind to people does not mean that I hide my convictions.  It is possible and necessary, and even good, to be kind and convictional.

Being kind does not mean giving up one’s principles.  Being convictional is not hate speech.

Sometimes the kindest thing I can do is share the truth with a person.

When sitting in the doctor’s office, is it kind for the doctor to withhold a truthful diagnoses from a patient simply because it may not be received well?  No.  The patient wants the doctor to tell the truth.  Sure, she wants the doctor to have a good bedside manner and be kind, but the kindest thing the doctor can do is tell her the truth.

The surgeon finds this balance in his work.  He is convictional that the cancerous mass must be removed from a person’s body.  Even though it will cause her pain, he is kind in telling the patient that she must undergo surgery in order to save her life.  It would be the height of unkindness and a criminally negligent lack of conviction to simply ignore the foreign mass growing inside the patient’s body.

Sometimes the most convictional thing I can do is love another person.

Kindness means seeing and interacting with people understanding that they are people—human beings—each being created by God–each having dignity.  Conviction means living according to a standard regardless of the perceptions, opinions, and feelings that others may have.

Operating with kindness will cause some to say you are too soft.  Operating with conviction will cause others to say you are spewing hate. 

One thing is sure: You will certainly be misunderstood by others, but living with kindness and conviction is the only way to live with confidence in the midst of an insufferable society. 

Todd E. Brady serves as Staff Chaplain and Advanced Funeral Planner at Arrington Funeral Directors.  He and his wife, Amy have five sons.  You may write to him at tbrady@afgemail.net. The Jackson Post’s opinion/editorial page is meant to help launch public discussion of local issues or allow local people to discuss national or statewide issues. Publication of a column is not an endorsement of that column by The Post, its owners or any of its advertisers or employees. To join the discussion, send a guest column or letter to the editor to brandon@jacksonpost.news. Submissions for a specific week’s print edition need to be sent by Monday night. Sending does not guarantee publication that week as that is based on space availability.