Suum cuique

Oh, yeah!!! He’s Using Latin!

2014-09-12 08.32.09Of course, I had to look it up, but it’s a very popular saying – even though we do not fully believe it.  It’s from a man who died over 2,000 years ago, and it’s probably something we’ve all struggled with before he made the quote, and even through today.

Who said this? Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC), Cicero is known as an orator and statesman from ancient Rome.

Suum Cuique means, “To each his own.”

Often we use it to defend our position. Equally often it’s incomprehensible that we do not allow someone else to use it to defend their own position. We do not want others to have their own position, but we want the right to have our own position.

And we are so frustrated with someone who has their view that we often attack them for what they believe, instead of defending their right to believe what they want!

When we are on the same page of life – religion, career, or politics – then  perhaps we are on the same side of the equation on how to live life. But just as soon as you leave the foundation of this “sameness”, then you join the other side of the equation saying, “To Each His Own.” Battles are waged on who’s right, who’s wrong, and who has a right to chose their side of the equation.

For example, we feel the right of peaceful demonstration is our right, and I would defend your right to demonstrate.  However, stay out of the street and obey the laws that we all agree are our rights and protections as citizens of our nation. Just check the news around Seattle and you will find that those who have “won” the right to demand a “liveable wage” of $15 per hour now feel like it’s their right to march  to the next city over and help them “win” the same right. There is a socialism at work, to which we must struggle to say, “To each his own.”

What this does for me is simply this – spend as little money as possible in Seattle, and any other city that causes me to spend more of my hard earned money than I am comfortable with. After all, it’s my dollar to spend, right?

Even within this framework we struggle with allowing one or the other do things their own way. Each decade of change is challenging those older generations with enjoying their local churches, or some national ministry.

Shakespearean writing says, “To thyself be true.” Perhaps this is true, but it is also  tough when you are so different than others around you! “Don’t rain on my parade.” Perhaps we want to be unique and don’t want anyone to minimize our differences – but the world is replete with examples of parades getting rained on!

When Jesus tells me that there is a framework for participation, then when I claim to be a Christian he tells me my boundaries are like this:

The WordThen said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  (Matthew 16:24-26 KJV)

When I take on the mantle of an “organization” or a “belief”, then I must obey the rules in order to have the rights within said association. Even when I feel my “rights” are being trampled on, right?

As this nation becomes more different than the one I grew up with, I find myself as one on the opposite side of the equation. I have not moved – but the majority is moving to the other side of where I stand. No longer am I in the majority. I am now in the minority.

There was a man I worked with about 30 years ago that gripped about the changes that were happening. He threatened to leave the country when he retired… To which I said, “Why wait? Go now!” Now, I find myself nearing his age and the changes that are happening are challenging me probably the same way he felt back then!

What I see these days is that the other side of the equation is not happy with letting me live within my boundaries. As this older generation gets replaced with a younger generation of voters, then the “boundaries” of our life will keep moving one direction or the other. One day this younger generation will be nearing my age and their “next” generation will move them past their boundaries. I wonder if they will feel the same way I do today, and the way my co-worker did 30 years ago?

It seems like each side of the equation does not actually believe “Suum Cuique”. They want to tear down  the ways and beliefs  of the other side and  want to “MAKEthem accept their rules.

What? Do we not believe in the rights to believe and live the way we chose? Of course not! Now, I believe in progressive change on many fronts. Many ways of our past have been found to have wronged many people and we have all changed in some ways.  But there are rule changes happening that do not allow me my “rights” and try to force me to change sides, especially when I have a religious right to be on the side I chose to be on.

That being said, I am probably equally incapable of “Suum Cirque” as much as the other side .. Hmmm… Maybe we better retire that statement!