Division & Outrage

It has been a while since I have written a blog article. A major reason has been because of needing to prioritize other things in my life and schedule. Another reason however, is a sense of despair in wondering what difference it really makes in a culture that is so bitterly and politically divided on nearly every issue. There are a thousand voices out there all trying to speak to these issues, an endless stream of information, and yet all I see is it either re-enforcing previous held positions or entrenching people deeper in their views that they are right and the other side is wrong…or worse yet, evil.

To be honest, I really don’t know who is right and wrong anymore. All I know, is that I think we have a bigger problem on our hands than any one issue. It is an issue beyond politics (believe it or not!). It is a problem of pride and lack of humility. A problem of no longer being able to see people as people beyond a political position. It is a problem of not being able to listen to others and allowing each other to be heard. We have gone to extremes and can’t seem to acknowledge there are legitimate concerns on both sides.

There is truth for example that we need to be careful about assuming guilt until proven innocent. However, there is also truth that for far too long those who have been abused (a staggering and horrible percentage of especially women) have been silenced or discredited…they too are being presumed guilty of lying until “proven” otherwise.

There is truth that racism and prejudice is still a problem. But there is also truth that now it feels like to some that if you are a “white male” you are being viewed in a negative way. There is also truth that many in positions of authority abuse their power. But there is also truth that not all can be lumped into this category and presumed guilty or viewed with suspicion just for being in a position of authority.

We have become a country of extremes who seem bent on using our “truth” as a political weapon. And yet, all this is doing is polarizing this country further apart, creating deeper divisions and pain. Whether Democrat or Republican people are people and there are issues of hypocrisy, injustice, double-standards and abuse on both sides. Both sides are bitterly “angry”, self-righteously “right”, and “outraged” over the other.

What could I possibly write that would make any difference?

I really think there is a need for humility first of all and above all. There is a need to recognize on both sides, that even in the extremes, it is coming out of a sense of frustration of not being heard, not being taken seriously, not being listened to…not being treated as a human being created in God’s image and deeply cherished. There is a need for humility. A need to hear one another. A need to be able to say “I am so sorry” instead of only “I am right and you are wrong!”

We don’t have to agree with each other in order to respect each other. We don’t have to agree politically in order to care for one another. We don’t have to agree with each other on issues in order to listen to one another and not so quickly dismiss someone for their views. And we don’t need to get so easily offended and angry that we walk away from relationship with one another!

On these levels, why can’t we take positive steps towards each other where we can find common ground, instead of further away from each other where we disagree? Why can’t we admit that there is some truth on either side, but not all truth on one side? Why can’t we place more value on relationships and reconciliation than being “right?” Why can’t we place more value on “humility” than our own “pride?” Why can’t we place more value on people…than politics? Why can’t we see what both sides are doing to whip up their followers into a frenzy for political purposes and their own agenda? Why do we allow media (on either side) to prey on our emotions and report only on sensational things that are always negative? Why do we value being entertained and enraged over each other?

Respect. Civility. Reconciliation. Relationships. Humility. Self-control. Healing. Forgiveness. Understanding. Listening more than talking. Dignity. Christ-likeness.

Believe it or not, the bible has a lot to say about not only these issues of justice, but also our character and relationships with one another. This is the hour that Christians/the Church need to begin better showing a different way. A way that transcends the politics of this world. A way more noble than political talking points, rhetoric and stances. We need to model the way of Christ that reflects his heart and character. A way that represents well God’s kingdom, a kingdom not of this world, and way of life much different than the world is used to seeing or knows. A way that results in life. A way that results in reconciliation and healing.

Here are just a few verses that come to mind in how we are to conduct ourselves towards one another:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. -James 1:19-20

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. -Proverbs 29:23

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:12-17

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