In light of the recent Florida shooting, there has been an onslaught of posts on my newsfeed about the pros and cons of gun control. To be fair, and to my relief, I’ve also seen a lot of conversation about mental health, poor nutrition, overly medicated kids, broken families and a desensitization to death thanks to movies and video games. This conversation is productive and needs to be had.
I love talking about politics but not with people who agree with me. I love talking about politics with people on the other side of the aisle. I love productive, respectful, open minded discussions where I can learn why someone believes the way that they do and gain a different perspective thanks to their unique experiences.
Gun control, abortion, immigration, gay marriage, health insurance, big vs. small government… these topics are important and, in a lot of cases, a matter of life and death. That’s why we all get emotional, right? It’s because we care and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, most of the political posts that I see are originally driven by fear and sadness but quickly turn into anger and finger pointing.
In case you haven’t figured it out, the title of my post is intended to be sarcastic. In the past 5 or 6 years, I have educated myself more on politics, nutrition, vaccines and healthy living than any normal person should have the time for. I will read almost anything in order to gain further insight whether it backs up my agenda or not. In fact, I seek out reliable and sound information that goes against what I think just to see how firmly I am set in that belief system.
I have been known to change my view on an issue – sometimes it’s just slightly adjusted and a handful of times it’s been an overhaul. However, I can tell you this. I’ve never changed my view after being berated, told I was wrong or made to feel like an idiot for believing the way that I did. Honestly, I usually won’t even click on something that hints at being aggressive. I just don’t need it in my life.
If you’re one of those people who likes to discuss politics on social media, what is your goal? Is it to bring awareness? Is it to educate? Are your posts based on facts? I think that’s wonderful. However, if you’re posting to make fun of the opposing party or to sway others into believing what you believe, maybe you should pause before you click. Your posts could very well just be having the opposite effect.
Ok, story time. Back in my day, I attended a very liberal Christian college and during my time there I took a class called Medical Ethics. Despite it being my favorite course (and favorite professor), I only remember 2 of the issues discussed: abortion and euthanasia. What I do remember well is that the professor never shared where he landed on any one topic. He argued one side and taught it as though that’s what he believed. Then he argued for the other side as though that’s what he believed. Then he suggested (strongly) that there is almost always a gray area. Finally, he told us to think it all over carefully and, if we could, decide what we believed based on everything we had heard. Brilliant.
When you’re tempted to get angry at someone (or *gasp* unfriend them) for their political view or for a rude post that’s been shared, try to remember that their view doesn’t define them any more than yours does you. Confession time: Occasionally, I can find myself being very judgmental in my thoughts. I almost always choose not to post those terrible thoughts on FB but that doesn’t make me a better person. It just makes me better at hiding my terrible thoughts. I’m a work in progress.
Here’s what I’d like to suggest. Can we focus on the relationship before the issue? Could this be something we apply to all areas of our life? Who is this person? Does this one opinion (albeit strong opinion) define them and have the ability to change how much I love them? It shouldn’t. It doesn’t change how much God loves them. I’ll tell you that for sure.
I’ll leave you with this. Do you think Jesus was a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian? I don’t think He would’ve registered. I think He would’ve been on the Congress floor flipping tables but that’s just my opinion. Don’t unfriend me over it!