In light of recent world events I wanted to share a reminder. A reminder for people from all camps and countries and families to reach across whatever their aisle may be. To not criticize those who are willing to speak with people of other beliefs and to not villainize opposite political camps. It is a self- deprecating circle, and most certainly causes destruction to all who are involved.
I do believe in certain sources of authority, and I believe that many primary sources, and philosophical sources bring amazing wisdom. Chief among these sources, I believe is the Bible which instructs on how to live in Wisdom, and Love, and Harmony in this world. In multiple places the Bible says how important it is to honor your enemy.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” -Romans 12:14 (NIV)
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:18 (NIV)
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” – Luke 5:44 (NIV)
That last one was the very words of Jesus Christ. How do we live at peace with everyone?- Well, we learn to love our enemies. Active attempts to preserve peace, are actually great ways to achieve peace!!- However, 2 things will dramatically hinder progress towards peace.
1) Refusing to meet with the enemy- By this I don’t simply mean that the leaders of any nation should put themselves in harm’s way in order to attempt negotiating with terrorists. I am primarily referring to if a president wishes to meet with the leader of a foreign nation, or if someone with one ideology attempts to dialogue with people of other ideologies. Relevant examples for both of these are all over the place… I really don’t mean to start a debate, but I must point out two relevant examples of how refusing to engage with someone you don’t agree with, could never help.
A) Recently U.S. president Donald Trump met with Russian president, Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. After the press conference, Mr. Trump got a lot of criticism, essentially for how nice he was to President Putin. (There was a lot of criticisms, but the main one was essentially that he was too soft on Russia.) No-one will ever know what Trump told Putin in private, but based upon the press conference (I watched), it seemed like a normal show of diplomacy. It was what you would expect. What should a president do, stand next to the leader of one of the largest nations on earth, in front of all the press and say “I hate you and your country!”? That hardly seems appropriate, and it really could only escalate things to a worse level.
B) Many people have been mobbed on for attempting to reach across the aisle, and have reasonable dialogue, but the most recent example is probably film-producer, Mark Duplass. After visiting Ben Shapiro’s (podcaster, and editor of Daily-wire) studio privately to receive more different perspectives on 2nd amendment rights, Duplass randomly tweeted, “Fellow liberals: if you are interested in ‘crossing the aisle’ you should consider following @benshapiro, I don’t agree with him on much but he’s a genuine person who once helped me for no other reason than to be nice. He doesn’t bend the truth. His intentions are good.” A day later, due to tons of liberal backlash, Duplass deleted the tweet, and apologized. Whether or not one agrees with Duplasses original view of Ben Shapiro, it should be recognized that Duplass wasn’t even endorsing Shapiro. He was simply pointing out that Shapiro has a different perspective worth listening to. Duplass should not have been forced to apologize for giving people a person to follow when interested in reaching across the aisle. Dialogue must happen if any progress is to be made.
2) Summarizing a large group of people by 1 negative aspect- This one is pretty self-explanatory. The route of racism and sexism and many other horrible things is ignoring the individual and grouping people together in categories. Approach with love and not hate. Really dude, do you have to make shirts and wear them on your show that say “NOT GAY”? On the other hand, should you call everyone who defends somethings president Trump did a “total trump flousy.”?
As we walk this life together, what will be most important is not how we interact with our friends, but how we interact with our enemies. Maybe, it’s important to recognize that everyone is our neighbor and deserves nothing but respect. Let us be reminded to walk in love, and attain to greater peace.