Anger. It is everywhere. Cities have been rocked by angry mobs of people making their way through the streets. Some have even destroyed and defaced property as they expressed their outrage. Social media feeds are full of conflicting view, each comment section brimming with vitriolic disagreement and personal insults. We are hard-pressed to find the news presented without screen filling with the heads of two people who spend the 90 second segment talking over one another. There is no escape, it is everywhere. Anger.
But what is everyone angry about? If we take a moment to read the signs, examine the contents of the posts, or somehow can hear through the cacophony on our screens, what are they actually saying?
One group is against police brutality. Another, is railing against mask mandates. A third is marching against monuments. Two blocks over, a rally against abortion is taking place. That pundit wants us to know he is against socialism, and the politician sharing the screen wants us to know she is out to end the patriarchy.
Over and over again, people are screaming what they stand against, what they appall, what they hate.
It seems that our conversations are no longer about the merits of what we believe. Instead, most of our talk centers upon what we are against.
How many conversations have you been involved in that went something like this? Someone, or maybe even you, said “I know that (insert group name) isn’t all good, but that (insert opponent group name) is absolutely evil/foolish/wicked/terrible and I am against them!”
It seems that our conversations are no longer about the merits of what we believe. Instead, most of our talk centers upon what we are against. Rather than espouse what we love, we spend our time focusing on the detriments of that which we hate.
Our election cycle has shown this to be true. Rather than focus on the strengths of candidates, the vast majority of ads seemed to have been purchased for the sole purpose of pointing out the opponent’s flaws. It was not just the candidates and their political action committees that fell into this behavior. Everyday conversations about the election were primarily about what, and who, ought to be voted against rather than for what, and whom, a person ought to support. We reduced this phenomenon down to the statement “lesser of two evils.”
What a sad point at which we have found ourselves. We have steered so far into the negative that we now define our worldview not by what we are “for,” by what we love, we now define ourselves by what we are “against”, by what we hate.
This doesn’t seem to be what Jesus told us. In fact, it seems that it is the opposite. He told us we would be known by our love. Admittedly He was speaking of our love for one another. Yet, it was still love.
Perhaps we would be better served if, instead of focusing upon what we dislike about those we oppose, we spent time in serious thought about ourselves and for what we stand for.
What do you stand for? What do you love? What do you believe in? What are your values?
Find yourself. Define your values. Live by motivation for what you love rather than being driven by the hatred for that which you disdain.
You may win the shouting match, but you’ll never convince a friend as long as your nature is caustic.
Not only will you find yourself better able to articulate your positions, you will also find that conversation is much more enjoyable when you are speaking of positives rather than exchanging attacks. You may even find yourself in a better mood when you spend less time hating people, positions, and policies.
Besides, hatred may be a motivator, but its not a very good convincer. You may win the shouting match, but you’ll never convince a friend as long as your nature is caustic. You’d be surprised what a little positivity and a firm belief in what you are saying will do.
It seems I heard another scripture about that. Something about overcoming evil with good.
Perhaps its time to give that a try.
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