I write about the news for a living and I will be honest with you: It has not been a fun year. I’m sitting here watching a TV monitor filled with images of Americans screaming at each other over a canceled political rally in Chicago. All I can think about is what this is doing to my soul. Quite frankly, I want to give up on politics altogether.
This is not going to be a post about whether or not you should vote for a certain candidate. I’m not even going to offer a bold critique or endorsement of anyone’s polices. I’m just going to be honest: It is breaking my heart to see people so demonstrably divided over issues that we’re supposed to be fixing together. And it’s even more disheartening to see the dialogue taking place in comment sections across the Internet.
This post is about challenging us to do better. To be better.
The common belief is that you should not get into a discussion about politics because your emotions get involved and emotions are difficult to control. The last part is right, but the middle part is wrong. Yes, emotions can be hard to control. But emotions should always be involved in any discussion you have; they just have to be the right emotions. Hatred, vitriol, and disrespect aren’t those.
What I am saying is that we have to be better to each other when we do disagree.
I’m not trying to say, “Why can’t we all just get along.” I’m not. We will have disagreements, and differences of opinion are vital to society. But what I am saying is that we have to be better to each other when we do disagree.
There is an old story about Jesus regarding a fight that broke out among some of his closest followers. They were arguing about who was the “greatest” of them all. Jesus’ response wasn’t at all what they were expecting.
“The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves,” He said. “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”
It really is a beautiful moment: The God of the universe referring to himself as a servant.
Whether you are a Christian or not, don’t you think we’d all be a little better off if we served one another? Now think about what that could look like in the context of this election season.
The next time you engage with a supporter of a politician you may disagree with remember that there is a real person behind those opinions and beliefs. That person may be hurting or they may be in need (and not because they disagree with you, but because they’re people). Those needs should come before our desire to express an opinion.
I must be careful with my words and I have to pray for the people that I disagree with.
I’ve been broken by this election. I am a loss as to what to write about or what to say. I can’t make predictions anymore and I can’t provide a thoughtful analysis without repeating myself. But I am so grateful that I have learned this: I must be careful with my words and I have to pray for the people that I disagree with. Being a Christian is incredibly difficult, and I am failing more often than not. But Christ has given me a responsibility to love others, and I am an ambassador for Him.
No matter what images come across my TV or my computer screen, my goal is not to misrepresent Him. No matter how angry, heartbroken, or disgusted I get.
David Podhaskie is a legal writer who lives in New York with his wife, Elisabeth.