As I perused by my facebook comments this morning, depending on which side you were on, comments ran the gamut from disbelief and anger to celebration and jubilation. I have to confess I just feel dismay for the whole sorry debacle that was Election 2016. As always in seasons of change there are opportunities that lie ahead for all of us. This is what I want people to take away after a season of often vitriolic and hate filled rhetoric from both sides. The only way we are going to “make this nation great again” is by working hard at a grassroots level. Every single individual needs to determine to make a difference. Here are my suggestions:
Listen to one another
Sometimes we are diametrically opposed to one another’s positions. Frequently that is because we refuse to hear what the other person is really saying. We marginalize their feelings—and both sides of the fence are guilty of this. The only way this is going to stop is if we start a dialogue with one another without pouncing and trying to prove our way is the right way. Truly try to find out why someone feels the way they do. And when you disagree, do it gently and lovingly without denigrating the other person. You may never agree but learn to respect the other person’s right to their feelings without hatred. BE KIND.
For every issue you feel strongly about, there is a way to peacefully get involved in organizations that promote your beliefs. And if there is not a peaceful organization, maybe now is the time to start one. Opposed to abortion and Planned Parenthood? Get involved in a local organization that seeks to give women the kind of support they need if they find themselves pregnant. Establish programs that provide mammograms, pap smears, sexual education, and resources. Quit being hateful to them and instead offer viable alternatives. Think the education system stinks? Run for the school board, volunteer to tutor, etc. Become a big brother/big sister, volunteer at a community shelter. There are a myriad of ways to get involved. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Cross the Racial Divide
There is no doubt that our nation is more racially polarized than it has been since the 60s. There are plenty of opportunities to listen to one another and acknowledge there is an issue. Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. Try to break down the barriers by getting to know one another. Have a civilized dialogue. Invite a family of a different color or ethnic background to your home. Now more than ever before, we ALL need to stop judging one another and get to know one another. For all of my Christian brothers and sisters out there—shame on you! The most segregated day of the week in church is on Sunday. How are we going to set an example for change if we do not even love one another? I can guarantee heaven is going to be a lot of different races. LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Pray, Pray and Pray Some More
I fervently believe that prayer changes things. Pray for our elected leaders every single day. Get down on your knees and beg God to change hearts and help these men and women be wise leaders. Petition God to keep us and our leaders pure of heart, humble, and respectful. Pray to God for our leaders to open their eyes to the marginalized and the poor. Pray for our leaders to have integrity and not give in to greed and corruption. If you are criticizing and moaning, instead of lifting these leaders up in prayer, maybe you are not doing your part for change. PRAYER CHANGES THINGS.
The only way we are going to make change in this nation is to start where we are. Each one of us can make an impact. It starts here and it starts now. Be civil, be kind, love one another and you will be surprised how the world around us will respond!
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”. – I Timothy 2:1-4