This has been quite a week! One thing that has been on my mind has been this question: Do we have to agree with everything another person believes to be able to work with them?
I have thought of this in regard to government of course, but it applies in many other places as well. Do we even have to like them? We all know that it is possible, though often difficult, to work with some people. At worst, when they lie. But often they may just have abrasive personalities. Sometimes, it is necessary. we have to work with them…sometimes, we even have to live with them!
We can’t react to red flag words
I find, when I listen to people who comment on what they heard in the speech earlier this week, that I don’t even recognize what they heard! Why is that? I have learned that I have to listen to words as they are, not react to some words that are red-flag words to me. Imagine if a speaker had to think through everything he/she said through the grid of every listener’s list of red-flag words! He/she wouldn’t be able to say anything!
I heard one person say that the word “chain” was racist. In the context of the sentence, there was nothing racist about it. Yes, I can see how the word “chain” could be used that way, but it would have to be in a certain historical context and it wasn’t. stop
The same goes for people we like/don’t like…it makes a difference how we receive their words.
I also find that if a person likes a person who says a certain word, they let it go. If they don’t, they pick apart everything they say. I totally understand that our political climate is a miserable mess right now and I don’t think it is simply the fault of one side. I just think that if we are to make any progress, leaders of both sides will have to work together to overlook a lot. This idea of being offended by every little word spoken by each side on behalf of a group of people you aren’t a part of is getting to be almost silly.
I understand that without GOD, we will get nowhere. That is a huge part of the problem. Another part is that we don’t know how to reconcile with one another and keep from goading each other with sarcasm and words that indicate we don’t think anyone will ever change. Only He can bring the change needed. Humanly, it looks impossible. Personally, after all the years I have voted and watched the political process, I have no faith in political parties alone! There are both good and evil people in both parties. My hope is that GOD is using the good ones to work, often behind the scenes.
There are ways to change the way we talk to each other. We can be the ones who start doing it right first. WE can be the first who are conciliatory in the way we speak to one another. WE can show respect to each other first.
I was sad to see that some party leaders weren’t able to applaud the things they do agree with at the State of the Union on Tuesday. No one expects them to agree with everything, but they agree with some of the items proposed. It would help the American people to see that they are glad an immigration plan is getting worked on. Progress is being made. They worked toward some of the other concepts mentioned. Now they are being considered. Just because a different President is recommending them is no reason to ignore that it might happen.
The same goes for other changes that can happen. Do we only want changes that come from one source? Maybe we would do well to listen and not react to red flag words. What are speakers saying? We do want to discern what they mean as well, but we don’t want to read too much into what they say. If it looks like they are changing to make decisions we want done, we need to speak up and encourage them…or not! Whether those changes are coming in our government, church or community!
The only way leaders know they are doing what we want is when we speak up. We don’t have to agree with them on everything. That will rarely happen. But we need to let them know when they are doing things well and in the way that is just, righteous, fair and good!
Encourage what you can agree with as often as you can. Speak up so your voice is heard…whether it is with your vote, a letter to your pastor, elders, community leaders, or whatever.
As you learn to find those with whom it is wise to agree and those to whom you must be conciliatory so you can work together toward the things that are just and good.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
Great post, Martha. So much wisdom here! You’re so right. When we begin with humbly showing another respect, that can break down animosity so that people can actually communicate. Even when the viewpoints are different, respect needs to be expressed.
And this: “Encourage what you can agree with as often as you can. Speak up so your voice is heard…whether it is with your vote, a letter to your pastor, elders, community leaders, or whatever.”
What a great exhortation.
Thanks for sharing your words thoughtfully and honestly, Martha.
thanks jeanne:) your comments are appreciated!
I was thinking your same thoughts during that address – at least there should have been some applause and not total defiance. I thought to myself no wonder our country is in the shape it is in watching our congressmen and women and their attitudes. Praying for change and tolerance from them. Seems no one up there is trying to set a good example.
i get how trump is abrasive, but when a persons job is to represent the american people well, he/she may need to find a way to work with people he doesn’t like or agree with often. that is a large part of the job! it is absolutely required if we want to bring about reconciliation of any sort. so glad you stopped by debbie:)
A timely reminder — We have two ears and one mouth for a reason wrote James . . . 1:19-20 —
so true barbara…i have to remind myself of that often as well:)
But Martha! Those that couldn’t applaud laud themselves as the tolerant ones, lolol…sorry I couldn’t resist myself.
Seriously though we have come to a sad state of being. You’re so right, listening without reacting and respecting each other is going to be critical if we’re ever to come out of this mess…that and of course the God factor.
it is sad that we can’t work together. hopefully, in our individual communities, we are doing better than our national government is. but i know it isn’t happening everywhere. there is no way we will agree on everything. that is certain. i don’t agree with many people in the party i often vote for on every issue. i hope i never do. it is too boring and isn’t good. besides, christians need to be different than any one political party. it isn’t healthy. because of the abortion issue, more christians have voted republican but we need to look at other issues as well. are republicans christian in all issues. i know many christians who feel they are not in some of their views in other areas. we need to look critically at all the issues.
Some good advice in here.
thanks tara. living by it isn’t easy.
“Encourage what you can agree with as often as you can.”- this is good advice. It can be very easy to see only the things that divide us at times instead of focusing on the common ground. And recognising that we can agree on some things, even if we don’t agree on everything, can help stop us from seeing the other person/ side as the enemy.
it’s difficult for sure…finding a place of agreement. i learned it from my husband. i’ve watched him in many hard situations and learned.
Thanks for sharing! Love that Isaiah verse.