Debates have been going on since the beginning of time. And as humans’- debates will continue until all forms of humans “abate” from the face of the earth. While we’re here in our temporary homes, and until we’re in our permanent homes, these debates will continue (2 Corinthians 4:18).
However, no matter how familiar we are with issues concerning debates, how do we handle it when it is up close and personal. Like at family dinners with friends and others who are in attendance? With the most frequent and hottest topics being religion and politics.
My sister’s childhood friend is no longer able to be a part of her granddaughter’s life because she is on the opposite side in all aspects of politic theories, and religious theories, and ideologies overall. Her daughter doesn’t deem it proper for her child to be exposed to a “person who voted for the other side.” Yikes! This is her mom! The person who gave birth to her. Who adores her. How is this possible? She was raised Christian. Did she forget about honoring her mother and father? (Exodus 20:12)
Upon hearing that news my heart broke for all parties concerned. My sister tried to help, but it was met with resistance on both sides. So, she stopped trying, albeit begrudgingly. But still tries every now and then, when the moment presents itself. So far, 6 years and counting. And the granddaughter is missing out on the love of grandparents. Oh, and incidentally my sister’s friends’ husband cannot see the granddaughter either. It seems he is on the wrong “side” also!
On a zoom call several months ago I was a part of a “virtual debate.” The call wasn’t to do with any contentious topics. In fact, it was a conference call about how senior citizens can make the most of their social security benefits. We were all strangers who signed on to see what the “tips” were in terms of financial strategies, given the current situation with raising costs all around us.
Well, it started simple enough. But then someone said some unkind comments about the current administration in DC. To which another yipped back with a comment about the former administration in DC. To which another yapped back with a snide remark about the person’s snide remark. Before long the zoom conference turned into a loud unseemly shouting exercise. It was pointless, a waste of time for those who wanted info about their social security checks, and it was a very crude and sad acknowledgement of how divided this country is.
I don’t know how it all turned out, because I got out of that zoom meeting faster than Superman can fly. I shut down the computer and felt like I witnessed a really ugly and prolific side of humanity. It’s difficult to describe, listening to real time malcontents as opposed to seeing debates in and on the news.
The manner in which they were vocalizing to each other was painfully uncomfortable and intensely unnecessary. The tension was so disconcerting and so thick it was almost suffocating.
No matter how much people differ in age, demographics, race or ideologies and beliefs, we are all “human.” The tragedy is that we tend to forget that in the midst of the ‘ever changing’ dynamics of what is present in the world today. It’s rampant and it is mind boggling. It is constant, and it is prickly. And it is the antithesis of who Christ is.
I am talking about “being split” in religious aspects and political aspects, and environmental aspects, and educational aspects, and financial aspects. There is a great divide. A rift that is so far and wide, one wonders if it ever can meet? A barrier that exists between right and left and side and center, and all the in between.
I always come back to the same conclusion over and over. No matter how many times I’ve witnessed it or seen it. Only ONE can fix our horrendous camping grounds of self-destruction and finger pointing populations within the populations. Our LORD Almighty! He is the One that can change it all. He is the One that can bring it all together. But we have to want it! We have to turn to Him. We have to pray. We have to listen. We have to make choices that involve Him and His will and His ways. Not our own selfish needs, wants or demands. We must turn TOWARD Him, not away from Him. When we pray and turn toward Him, He will hear us and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Those of us who know Him find it easier to get through the maze of acrimonious deception and incoherence in terms of what is happening in the world today. Those who don’t know Him are more than likely experiencing more difficulties than those of faith. Those who know Him have peace that is indescribable (Philippians 4:7).
When we are bonded with Christ and eyes fixed on Him, even the most complex of issues spark clarity from within, that is to say our spirit. The world may be “ugly and dark” at times but the hyssop that washed us clean as snow (Psalm 51:7) brings an inner calmness and morality compass that points us in the right direction as all times. And nothing and no one can take us from Him (Romans 8:38–39).
Don’t debase someone for their individual God given right to act according to their belief or their choice. And don’t bandy about on a scale of debates that can only lead to decaying relationships. Instead choose to fixate on God. He is the One to bring wisdom into all of what we do and stand for. When we stand for Him, the domino effect follows wherever we go. And we are equipped to interject where and when we can, in the hope of alleviating and commandeering civility and a sense of respect for each other in all that is appropriate and generous in God’s eyes.
Advice for the upcoming holiday season anyone? Yep! Fluff and stuff! Talk about the turkey, recipes, football game—or play a board game, watch an old nostalgic movie filled with love and sentimentality—and just appreciate every single second you spend together. The moments are fleeting, the days are quick, and the years pass in a blur. I truly remember just turning 21! Now a senior citizen and I’m thinking, where the heck did those years go?
Finally, recognize that Jesus loves us all (John 3:16). He doesn’t see the thorns on the rose. He only sees the rose. We are His roses. We may have thorns, some more than others, but He loves us just the same. We are all equal in His beautiful eyes (Acts 10:34-35).
So, for now, while we are here on earth, in the flesh. Play nice, make a difference in someone’s life, and keep Jesus at the center of it all! Amen!
“Father, may I do all according to Your plan and purpose, help me to jump over the hurdles of discontent, and land in the path that leads to Your door, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”