This I Believe

Petr - Grandville, Michigan
Entered on December 8, 2006

I believe that being consistent to my character is my most important objective in life. When I am being consistent to my character I make the most ethical choices, I do things because I believe them. This approach has been difficult to maintain, and yet the most rewarding when it has been maintained.

I was born to a family where both of my parents are devout believers. The denomination they are members of believes in baptism as a right of passage, a requirement for true salvation. All my life I felt pressures to conform, one example comes from the church to repent with Sunday school classmates, to be baptized with my peers only because they were doing it. What allowed me to say ‘no’ was the support of my parents. They believed that it was important to make each of my beliefs my own.

I never thought it was genuine when during high school everyone around me was moved by a spirit, at around the same time in the school year. I didn’t witness much change with my friends; they were taking part in a great charade. Hypocrisy bothered me then, as it bothers me now. It’s painful to pretend to have a belief I don’t actually have, my conscience would gnaw at my soul like a disease. I promised myself that I would never be a hypocrite. I could be disobedient, but I would never have disbelief.

I believe that maintaining honesty with my self is the best medicine against hypocrisy. It nicks the problem at its root. It’s like applying the golden rule to yourself; don’t do unto others what you would not want them to do onto you. The times I was not consistent to my character I was also not honest to my self and others. When I would lie to myself, I would be both on the sending and the receiving end, I would feel the guilt of dishonesty and I would also feel the pain of deception.

Today no one is pressuring me to be baptized. It’s been a long time since I finally recognized hypocrisy in the church as a tool to test me. The years of fighting the system within and without have yielded their result. Today the choice I make about being baptized is entirely my own. One battle has been won, but the war rages on.