It’s been a politically emotional week for people who voted, for those who didn’t vote; and for those who don’t even live in the United States of America. I’ve already vowed via Facebook that I will no longer discuss Trump with people in person or via social media. The evening of the election and for a few days following, I felt emotionally exhausted by the harsh words tossed back and forth between people who felt strong emotions about the candidates, the election process, and the election results (both the winning team and the losing team).
This election campaign and the strong reactions to the results (from both sides) reminded me that we need to learn to get along and work together. Politics is never something that should be taken likely. Political actions determine whether people will live or die, eat or go hungry, thrive or diminish, and a whole lot of other things in our day-to-day life.
When politics brings out the worst in us we behave like toddlers:
We throw tantrums
We want it our way
We scream “mine”
We bite (through words and actions)
We run away
and like a toddler at the end of the day all we want is a blanket and a pacifier to sooth us.
I can’t say that my responses towards people I disagree with politically has always been role model behaviour. I don’t joke when it comes to discussing issues with people who want to take away the most basic human rights of others or those who want to create systemic barriers that prevent people from being able to meet the essential needs for living. I hate going into toddler mode; it’s mentally, spiritually, and emotionally draining.
I don’t have any advice or techniques on how to prevent adults from partaking in the “Toddler Method”, but what I do know is that God has asked us to do something that is incredibly difficult; He has asked us to love our enemies. He has asked us to love those who we disagree with. Don’t be fooled into thinking he is asking us to be passive and foolish, no, He hasn’t asked that of us; but He does ask us to love, because as much as we may dislike our political leaders or each other, He loves those we hate. It’s a challenging concept for our human minds to understand, but God has made it clear; He loves every, single, human being, even the ones we have deemed to be awful human beings.
I sometimes joke around by saying, “God loves you, but I don’t!”. Unfortunately, it’s not always a joke, it’s reality.
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven in perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
I’ll leave you with a lesson I had to learn the hard way in my life. Don’t let the views and values of others you disagree with cause you to develop a hardened heart. Don’t allow room in your heart for hatred towards others; it only makes living in a diverse nation more difficult than it has to be.