“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
That comment is from Winston Churchill. I touched on it a year ago – On having enemies.
While looking for a somewhat related story, I looked again at a discussion by Philosiblog on the Churchill quote.
His article expands on the idea that if you take a principled stand for something, there is a chance you will cause severe offense and perhaps create an enemy.
Should that be the reason you gather enemies during your life, Mr. Churchill would say you have done well.
If you give gratuitous offense or just hurt people, that is a different story. There is no honor in that.
The article distinguishes squishy people who agree with the last comment made in a conversation with wise people who avoid conversations of politics or religion or other particularly sensitive topics.
Different people can all have honorable opinions. There is no reason to create enemies over those debatable issues.
A wise pastor asked our congregation – “have you ever won a political debate?” That is why he, and our current leadership, didn’t then and still don’t touch politics. Furthermore, there isn’t enough time to talk about all the spiritual issues we want to explore.
On the other hand…
Sometimes there is a principle so important, something you believe so deeply, or something you perceive is so fundamentally right or foundationally evil that there is no choice but to take a stand.
In my life, I have taken stands on many issues. Won’t go into detail but for a number of those stands I am surprised I haven’t accumulated a list of severely offended people.
There are several firm stands I have taken, both in my professional life and personal life, that have generated strong and harsh opposition. I have lost several friendships from taking a strong stand on what are foundational moral and ethical issues. Again, I won’t go into details.
Going back to the quote above, when I look at the underlying issues (no details because this is a public post!) I count it a point of honor that certain people seriously dislike me.
I’m still looking for a story that makes that point far better than my meandering mumbles.