There are so many things that I need in my life: strong relationships, good health, peace in my community, lots of laughter, love, and opportunities to serve. I’m willing to wager that these things are necessities for you as well. Some people might even mention a few tangible things: Starbucks coffee, an iPhone, a house keeper, a large house, or a luxury car.
Given the current state of our union with regard to the vitriolic volleying of fighting words across party lines, racial lines, and socioeconomic lines, one thing I don’t need is another hashtag. One hashtag begets another and another — furthering the divide in our not-so-perfect union. I admit that it’s been difficult for me to stand by and watch the fighting without putting on my own gloves, but just as I’d prepare to tape my hands and don my gloves, I’d recall some words of wisdom.
“Answer not a fool according to his folly,lest you also be like him.” ~Proverbs 26:4 (AMP)
Even after the hashtags die, our problems will continue to loom over us, lurk around the corner, and look for yet another opportunity to hit us where it hurts — right in the gut. We’re so predictable. We fall for Satan’s ploys time and again, so it’s time to fight back — fight the real enemy.
For the sake of argument, pretend we’re all WWE fighters. In one corner is the #blacklivesmatter fighter. In the opposing corner is the #alllivesmatter fighter. The bell rings, and they fight. Just when it appears that the #blacklivesmatter fighter has the advantage, some guy comes running from the dressing room — dressed in blue. He jumps into the ring and wails on him. In an attempt to stop the fighting, another guy in blue runs to the ring and starts wailing on all three of them. Meanwhile the referee is ringing the bell and calling for backup. The crowd is going wild, and more boys in blue come running — jumping into the ring. It’s pandemonium!
Just as ridiculous as this scenario, is the hashtag war. It appears that we’re fighting over differing opinions — fighting because that’s what we always do when someone shares an opinion that differs from our beliefs. It doesn’t erase the problem. Fighting just feeds the problem — causing it to grow, spread, infect, and sometimes kill.
The solutions to our problems may take years to discover, but what we’ve learned is that fighting and finger pointing haven’t worked thus far. What I don’t need is another hashtag to tell me that I matter or don’t matter, and neither should you. Since we are all made in God’s image and precious in his sight, we all matter — whether we truly feel that way or not. We protest to make a point, and many of them are peaceful enough that we are all able to discern the message of the movement. All too often though, media outlets will only broadcast protests that become problematic — causing us to infer what their message might be since it only seems to cause destruction. These messages grow, spread, infect, and sometimes kill.
If we want peace in our nation, we need to have a conversation. Four ingredients are needed before anyone utters a word: an open mind, a closed mouth, facts, and feelings.As one party shares facts and feelings, the other has to have an open mind and a closed mouth. We teach our kids to take turns and be respectful. Who gave us permission to change the rules once we became adults?
Talking it out is a logical first step, and it’s up to all of us to plan our peace talks. I can’t solve our world’s problems, but I can be part of the solution. So can you! I didn’t create this mess, but if I don’t help to clean it up, it’s really gonna start to stink pretty soon. I’m not sure how we can clean it up, but we can’t pour bleach on it. That might eliminate the stench, but it doesn’t get to the source of the problem. As we plan our peace talks, we can certainly ask God to pour out a few extra blessings. We can’t defeat the evils of this world without him.
What are your solutions?