It amazes and saddens me how divided we have become as a nation. I fully support having differing views, but the barriers of understanding and being civil to each other we are establishing is troubling. Talk about building a wall!
I find it ridiculous that President Trump has been ridiculed for providing a fast-food buffet for the Clemson national champion football team—an event by and large loved by the guys. I felt the same when people made fun of the vegetable garden on the White House grounds being put in by First Lady Michelle Obama.
My point is we are way to driven by our pre-conceived ideas and beliefs that we cannot see the good in others. Let me give you a parable to illustrate: We don’t like Joe, but Joe runs into a burning building. He saves a baby, he runs back in and saves the puppy, he runs back in and saves the kitten. After the building collapses the headline is that he did not save the gold fish and therefore he is selfish and horrible!
That is how many people look at those in elected positions when they start saying “I hate you” and soon that attitude is extended to the citizens who support the person we do not support. In full disclosure I am a conservative and support those candidates who most closely align with my philosophy of how this nation should be governed. Because of my ideology I have been labeled, directly and indirectly, as a sexist, a racist, a homophobe, a Nazi, along with other demeaning traits. I am far from perfect in how I see others, but I try hard to see people the way Dr. King dreamed of, to live in a nation where people are not judged by the color of their skin (or other physical attributes) but by the content of their character.
Even more importantly I strive to live by God’s Word. A particularly appropriate passage I believe is 1 Peter 2:17 which says, “Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.” (MSG)
– “Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” This says “everyone” but it does not say we have to agree with everyone, but it does say to treat them with dignity.
– “Love your spiritual family.” As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to reach the world in His name, but we are also called to support and love our spiritual family. We do this through worshipping together, serving together, and fellowshipping with each other.
– “Revere God.” God must come first in our lives; if we cannot do this the other relationships are infected or at best hollow.
– “Respect the government.” The Greek word is “king” or “emperor”. That is the historical context we must consider because at the time that was the one who ruled the nations. Today, in America, we do not have that system, we have a Constitutional Federal Republic where each of us has the rare privilege of voting for our elected officials. Again, this does not say we have to agree with elected officials, but it does say to “respect”. That also means to respect the system, which means the Constitution of the United States.
I am not particularly fond of the expression “we can agree to disagree” mainly because it is often used as a copout from important debates. It is okay to disagree and sometimes even healthy for growth, but God’s Word tells us we are to interact in all things treating others with dignity and respect. Am I doing that? Are you doing that? God truly knows and does judge us by the content of our character.