There is no question that our great nation is divided. We are divided along racial lines. We are divided along religious lines. We are divided along social issue lines. We are divided along the political spectrum. We are divided along cultural lines. We are even divided by which part of the nation we live in. This divide did not happen because of the 2016 election, nor did it happen because of the 2008 election. This divide has been growing in our nation for decades. This divide is not the fault of the Republicans or the Democrats, nor is it the fault of the Liberals or the Conservatives. This divide has occurred because people have lost faith in those who have been elected to serve us. The vast majority of people I talk to simply no longer believe that our elected officials have the best interest of "we the people" in mind. There is a divide, and this divide continues to widen. If we are ever going to become "Stronger Together" or "Make America Great Again" we must begin to bridge that great divide.
Those who know me know that my faith is the foundation upon which I strive to build my life. My worldview is a Biblical worldview. My stance on political, social and moral issues is conservative. I am not a racist. I am not a bigot. I am not homophobic. I believe in a smaller Federal government. I am a strong believer in State rights. I stand strong and proud with the United States Constitution. I believe, with all my heart that the only answer for our great Nation is a national revival. However, I know that many do not accept or hold to my faith and that's okay. After all, freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Frist Article of the Bill of Rights.
Our nation needs to take a refresher on the lessons that we learned in Kindergarten. Kindergarten was where most of us were exposed to people outside of our family and our family's circle of friends for the first time. It was where we met people different from us for the first time. We met kids of different color. We met kids of difference faiths. We met kids from different lifestyles. We met kids from different cultures. We met kids from different economic groups. Funny thing? We never once thought about any of that. We got along. We made friends. We accepted each other. Let me remind you of a few of the lessons that we all learned in Kindergarten.
We learned not to talk when someone else is talking. Part of the issue in our nation today is that we refuse to listen to each other. We talk to one another instead of talking with one another. We talk over one another instead of listening to one another. We have two ears and one mouth. Maybe it's time that we start listening twice as much as we talk.
We learned not to call each other names. All of us are guilty of this. Shame on us. The vast majority of us in our nation need to have our mouths washed out with soap for the things that we have said about one another. We have become a nation where it is accepted to vilify those who disagree with us. Let me remind you that words hurt. Words leave a lasting scar. Derogatory words, words spoken in hate and malice, are never helpful and are always intended to tear down instead of to build up.
We learned to say you're sorry when you've hurt someone. When did we forget this? Instead of saying we're sorry we have blamed others in order to excuse our own behavior. And so often, when we do apologize we make it conditional. "I'm sorry I said that, but…". "I'm sorry that what I did hurt you, but…". How about we stop blaming our hurtful actions and words on the behavior of others and start taking responsibility for the things that we do and say. Come on, every one of us makes mistakes. We say things that we wish we could take back. We do things that we regret. Instead of blaming our actions on others, let's just admit when we have hurt one another and then honestly and sincerely apologize. By the way, that also means that we must be willing to accept the apologies offered to us.
We learned to always assume the best in others. We no longer do that. We automatically assume the worse in others, especially those that we know hold different opinions than us. We assume that all those on the opposite end of the political spectrum are not patriotic and that they want to destroy our nation. We assume that all those of different religious beliefs or cultures want to forcefully impose their views on us. The assumption of the worst in our nation only deepens the divide.
We learned that milk and cookies are good! Ok, that kind of dates how long ago it was that I was in Kindergarten, but the lesson is still valid. When we had our mild and cookies we all came together around a common table. It was around this table that we talked. It was around this table that we laughed. It was around this table that we planned what we were going to do later. Maybe we need to start sitting down around a common table with those different than us. Different races. Different cultures. Different religious views. Different political views. Spend some time with those that we are talking about and learn about them. Spend some time with those that we don't understand and listen to their stories, their hopes, their fears and their concerns. And don't forget the milk and cookies!
Driving into the church office this morning I heard a song by one of my favorite groups, Casting Crowns. I realize that the song is talking about couples and not about our nation, but I couldn't help but think about the divide in our nation when I heard these words.
Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete. Could we just be broken together? If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine. Could healing still be spoken and save us. The only way we'll last forever is broken together.
There is a divide in our nation, but healing can still take place. It will be difficult. It will take time. It will take people listening to each other instead talking about each other. It will take people building one another up instead of tearing each other down. It will take people willing to admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness, and it will also take people willing to accept the apologies of others. It will take people starting again to see the best in others, and not the worse. It will take us coming together over some milk and cookies!