Love…Hate…Listen

Do you know what's really scary? Americans demonizing each other instead of listening to each other.

I am as guilty of it as the next person.

I love clever, witty, and yes, sometimes snarky comments or memes aimed at those I disagree with politically.

Sometimes I will even “like” them on social media.

Sometimes, if they REALLY strike a chord with me, I will even SHARE them.

But what do these comments really achieve?

I doubt they convert people to change their opinions.

Quite the contrary – I suspect they make those who are being made fun of and belittled feel angry and motivated to create or share their OWN clever, witty, and yes, sometimes snarky comment in response.

And so it continues.

The trenches grow deeper. The divide widens. The willingness to listen evaporates. Solutions remain at bay.

The issues are real and affect real people.

The opinions are real and honestly held.

It’s good that we care.

It’s good that we speak up.

But when we speak up with disrespect…when we expect people to listen, without willingness to listen in return…when we describe those with different ideas as evil or stupid…we chase away any hope of addressing these very real issues.

So I ask you:

Do you care more about being “right” or about being part of a solution?

Do you care more about tearing down the “other” or about building up something useful/helpful?

The image I created to go with this blog post includes a jack-o-lantern that once stood in front of our home.

Halloween traditions can provide a good backdrop for this discussion.

In the sense of political dialogue…are you in the gang that eggs houses and knocks over mailboxes?

Or are you among those who turn on your light, welcome the neighborhood kids, and share some candy?

Do you aim more for the “trick” or the treat?

Matthew 5:43-44: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

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