Man, oh man, it’s a bumpy ride in our country right now. A new and controversial POTUS has taken office. His policies and practices have been hotly contested, and the uproar is loud. And yet, at the same time, we can’t lose sight of how much we have to be grateful for in our country. We were all free to vote, and we are all free to speak our minds and beliefs following the election. The United States of America is a constitutional democratic republic, and the existence of this kind of government is the very reason we have these very freedoms.
This blog post isn’t about the POTUS, though. It’s not about him, his policies, speeches, announcements, or issues. It’s not about political parties or partisanship. It’s not even about government. It’s about people. The American people. Us.
We are better than this. Better than what’s been happening.
We can be angry, but we shouldn’t be hateful. There is a difference.
We can disagree, but we should do so with respect. It’s worth valuing others and their viewpoints too.
We can speak our voices, but we should listen just as much as we talk. Seeking to understand might help us to gain wisdom.
We can say we care about people AND we can behave like it too. Actions speak louder than words, so we must. We must not drive further division. We must not allow rage to be our driver. We must stop trying to defend our own perspective at all costs.
Because it’s costing us, friends. And the cost is high.
I’ve seen families divided, friends lost and social media connections broken. I’ve seen respect, decorum and thoughtful discussion put aside, and I’ve seen (and personally experienced) a deluge of cussing, name-calling and unfair generalizations and assumptions taking their place.
And, I’m asking us all to stop it.
PLEASE. STOP IT.
Can we please press the PAUSE button for just a second, take a deep breath and re-center ourselves?
For the love.
💖💖💖 FOR. THE. LOVE. 💖💖💖
What if we stopped trying to wound and inflame and, instead, looked for ways to heal?
What if we stopped looking for differences and, instead, tried to highlight our similarities?
What if we stopped tearing others down and, instead, tried to build bridges?
What if we stopped trying to prove that our way is best and, instead, asked questions to broaden our perspective? What if asking those questions actually brought forth learning, understanding and compassion for others?
What if we put hate, anger, defensiveness and pride aside and, instead, we chose love?
What would it look like?
Well, love is…patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
So how can we choose love in these chaotic times? How can we lead with it?
1) Seek to understand the perspective of opposing viewpoints. Be earnest. Start with, “Help me understand why you feel this way…”
2) Stop trying to prove your viewpoint. Stop sharing partisan and biased “news” (so much fake news these days!) Stop proliferating the divide and work to share commonalities.
3) Stop giving the President more power than he has. Yes, he is the POTUS…but he is still a man. He’s not a god. He doesn’t have the power to penetrate our hearts, minds or souls. Stop allowing him to affect your well-being, your stress level or your health overall. When you find your heart sinking, take a break and pump it back up. Strengthen it with all the good things that are still happening in this world. Focus your thoughts on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. Allow goodness to re-fill you, rather than continuing to simmer in darkness. It will help, I promise.
4) Be patient. This story is still being written, and major change rarely, if ever, happens overnight. Notice I didn’t suggest being complacent. It’s more than okay to be actively involved. Just realize that things take time, and give yourself and your movement grace and time to allow necessary pieces and parts to align. We all plan to wake up again tomorrow, and each day is filled with new promise.
5) Pray. This is the one that I truly hope every American is engaged in doing. Regardless of your religious viewpoint, pray for our leaders. All of them. Pray for wisdom, humility and the strength to do what is right, good and just, regardless of any noise around them. Pray for discernment and clarity as they make important decisions. Pray that they will listen to citizens, world leaders and their conscience. Most of all, pray for peace – for our people, our world and our own hearts.
We are America, and we are worthy of love. Let’s lead with it. Let’s shower each other with it. Let’s give it a fair chance. Let’s rejoice in its ultimate triumph!