The problem is not that we have different opinions.
The problem is that we have polarized our opinions, choosing to believe that there is only right and left, black and white, this or that. We forgot the art of compromise (and yes, this can be done without compromising your beliefs) and have ignored the grey areas. We refuse the “agree to disagree” approach and instead engage in petty wars trying to prove our righteousness. “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” Romans 14:1
The problem is that we ignore the fact that we have a personal responsibility to be a light in the darkness (Matthew 5:16). Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say, there is a time and place to call for policy change and to exercise your right to vote for a person or policy that aligns with your beliefs; however, if you want to see real change, go spend time with the people those policies impact. Go hold the hand and look in the eyes of the pregnant woman who doesn’t know what to do, the addict who doesn’t think change is possible, the Black woman who just buried her son killed by police, the school traumatized by the open fire of a machine gun. Listen more. Talk less. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13
The problem is that we aren’t just arguing opinions, we can’t agree on what truth is.
Truth: we can stand up for our beliefs without hurling insults, storming the Capitol, turning to violence, or blaming others. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
(For biblical examples of this, look at Moses, Daniel, or Esther.)
Truth: we are called to love our neighbor. Not just the neighbor with the same political or religious beliefs as us. Not just the neighbor who looks and speaks like us. (Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37)
Truth: this love is how we show Jesus. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
We don’t show Jesus by waving flags and justifying every bad behavior with the line “even Jesus flipped tables”.
We don’t show Jesus by deeming one political party “Christian” and therefore all others evil.
We don’t show Jesus by being a “patriot”.
We don’t show Jesus by claiming we’re pro-life but by our words and actions not valuing ALL life (POC, immigrant, incarcerated, HIV+, etc).
We don’t show Jesus by judging and condemning those who think differently than us while we walk around with a plank in our eye.
The problem is we say we want justice when really we seek justification. If we want true justice, then we have to stop criminalizing one group of people while justifying the same actions done by another. We have to quit degrading the lives of some people for ungodly behavior while excusing the ungodly behavior of leaders because they are “Christian” (if anything, they should be held to a higher standard!) We have to quit expecting non-believers to act like believers all while justifying our own misguided actions by claiming they’re done in the name of Jesus.
A note to those feeling hopeless, scared, and anxious: Remember there is a real and present God who is in control. He knows exactly what is happening and it came as no surprise to him. He knew the storm would rock the boat and he simply said “be still” and the wind and waves obeyed. He knew this life would bring troubles and suffering and he said “I am with you” and “my peace I leave you”. I pray that you would put your trust and hope in Jesus, that you would feel the comfort of his nearness, and that you would experience his peace and grace that he so generously offers you.