Lately, it would seem that everywhere we turn - especially on social media! - we are a country that is full of people arguing about everything. The ideal that an on-line community would bring has been horribly, HORRIBLY realized. Everyone can now engage everyone else with just the click of a computer mouse, and the results can be infuriating, frustrating, and overly-emotional.
What has happened to us?
This is hardly the first time in our country's history that we have had large segments of our population disagreeing over so many things and becoming so emotional about it. The years preceding the Civil War saw congressmen and senators literally coming to blows on the floor of Congress. One southerner beat a northerner with his cane until the northerner was unconscious on the floor; worse still, when it was reported that his cane was broken during the attack, hundreds of people sent new canes to the southerner to replace the one he broke assaulting his colleague.
President Andrew Jackson threatened several political opponents with either a beating or a duel; of course, no one ever took Jackson up on the offer - probably because it was widely known that Jackson had a fierce temper and was a crack shot with a dueling pistol.
Oh yes, we have been this angry before.
But now it is a constant thing, and we seem to ramp up our collective anger each and every time any item of news hits us, whether that news item is trivial or important. We can no longer have any rational or civil conversation. We are all slaves to our emotions.
We still have the power to vote our way to change if we so choose. But we cannot seem to accept that power responsibly. Instead, it is constantly revealed that no matter which side wins, the other side is plotting and sharpening their long knives for the next fight.
There is a better way, and all Christians are called to it.
When Jesus walked the earth, there was not a single person he would not engage in conversation. When he did this, he was often blunt-spoken and direct, but he was never mean or hateful.
- I strongly believe that he calls us to be the quiet, dignified voice in the conversations.
- I strongly believe that there are things going on that need our voices and our support.
- I strongly believe that no matter what our opinions may be, we have a responsibility to come together whenever possible; and when we cannot, we have a GREATER responsibility to be respectful and to turn the other cheek if necessary.
When we act as Jesus would have us act, we disarm the negative and overly-emotional responses by our love.
To do otherwise is to continue to be part of the problem. And when we do this, believe that Satan and his imps are dancing for joy.
Believe it! Amen!