You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
– Galatians 5:13-15, NIV
What we have in common matters more!
No matter which direction your politics lean, I think we can all accept that this is a time of turmoil for our nation. I have heard from residents who feel afraid, angry, hurt, and uncertain about the future. When each new snippet of news is about another conflict or change, it can be easy to focus on the differences between “us and them.”
The Apostle Paul admonished that we are called to be free, and that means we must all hold to our own principles. Our base nature, though, drives us to use that freedom towards acts of hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissention, factions, and envy, among other things. Paul cautions that we are called to move beyond that base nature and serve one another humbly in love.
I have never convinced anyone of anything by shouting at them or by attacking their beliefs. Reconciliation comes from acknowledging common interests, and change comes from patiently and lovingly showing how those interests can be met in different ways. This is what Paul is telling us in Galatians: We must hold to our principles, but we must hold even tighter to our family, friends, and neighbors.
In times in which we are unsure of whether or not we can trust our national institutions, these close relationships are our support and refuge, and we have the ability to build them through mutual kindness and respect every day. I take heart each time I see friends laughing over a cup of coffee in the activity room, or people of different political views pleasantly sharing a ride to the doctor’s office. Right now, our differences might be in the spotlight, but it’s the things we have in common that matter more.