As you know, “on the fence” is a term applied to middle ground: an undecided state where you can be completely objective and impartial. How do you feel about the Sean Spicer statement that President Trump is going to start enforcing federal laws concerning recreational marijuana? What do you think about Pope Francis and his denouncing Catholics who don’t pay employees a fair wage? Is that his place or even his responsibility? Do you have an opinion? If not, we would say that you are on the fence. However, it’s not a rule that you can’t have opinions while undecided; in fact, some of the most annoying fence sitters have opinions on both sides. Therefore they can’t decided which to choose.
The Practicality of Fence Sitting
For one thing, you can avoid making people mad by siding against them, and you avoid a good deal of pain and grief by remaining undecided. Sure, it might annoy some people, but sitting on the fence simply allows you more time to think. A few of the benefits of being undecided are that:
- You can see both sides better and with more objectivity than those on one side or the other.
- Because you are disconnected from the issues, you avoid the conflict between both sides .
- You spare yourself the hurt of being wrong by simply not choosing anything at all.
- When everything is over and done, you get to say “I told you so”, to whichever side loses.
The Pain of Fence Sitting
It should go without saying that sitting on a fence is painful. Maybe by not choosing we save others from pain, and to a certain degree, ourselves also. However, we only trade one type of pain for another. When we sit on the fence, we are making a statement to both sides that says “I don’t agree with you”. If we did agree with their cause, we wouldn’t be sitting; as I said, it isn’t comfortable. Fence sitting doesn’t help you escape problems, it lands you in the middle of them.
Sometimes we don’t sit. When being on the fence becomes natural we walk the picket line, touring different conflicts, never taking sides. This might work for a while, but how long can we keep it up? How long is it before we fall one way or the other and don’t get to choose anymore?
The Pretend Fence
Are you ready for this? There is no fence. Not really, not in life: not with God. In life we think that not being for any one side is not being against any. However, for those on either side, an undecided person is against both. With God, He says that you’re either for Him, or against Him. There is no middle ground. And even if there were, it would be against Him. Get off the fence! Choose a side already. Sitting only hurts you and those you love. Nobody wants to see you fall off, but there are a few who would drag you off if they could. Stop holding onto the fantasy that you can be impartial and please everybody: it can’t be done. Choose God and know where you stand.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist