Governor John Kasich speaking at the 2020 DNC made me so happy. Not because I’m a die hard Democrat— because I am not. Not because I’m a die hard Buckeye— though I certainly am. But, because I want to stop feeling so yucky and polarized. I did my miserable years at recess in dirty sandboxes and watching kids cry because they were picked last in gym class. I’m a grown up now and I have a civic, social, and spiritual responsibility to all people. And by “all people”, I mean…all people.
This year has shown us a shortage of many things. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer, pepperoni, and patience have all fallen prey to coronavirus. However, 2020 has produced a plentiful supply of opinions. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter, back to school plans, playing football, or *gulp* the November election…there are enough opinions to confuse even the most discriminating content consumer. In the words of my ol’ pal, Charlie Brown… Good Grief!
If opinions were seedlings, there would be no world hunger. If opinions were dollars, there would be no poverty or lack. If opinions were intelligence rather than a symphony of sounds — well, dare I say the world would be a much better place.
That’s just my opinion.
It feels almost nonsensical to write, but… in the present moment, these United States are deeply divided. How ironic! We’ve always been a diverse nation. We’ve always been serious about our favorite sports teams and TV shows, our politics and our right to do what we want. In my village we will always disagree on the top five hip hop artists and who should be first ballot to the NBA Hall of Fame. We’ve never been a nation of homogeneous people. Yet, we’ve been the United States. So, what’s changed? Together, we need to figure it out.
As a nation we need to get it together or change our name. We cannot boast to be “these United States” and be as disjointed as we are today. The nation has never been perfect. Uh…#becauseslavery and it never will be. Uh….#becausepeople. Regardless, I know we can be better than we are in this moment.
You Have a Right to Your Opinion But…
I hate “that school up north.” I don’t want my kids to go there. I won’t go to their games, buy their apparel, or watch them on TV— unless, of course, the Bucks are delivering their annual beat down. But guess what? When the auto industry was in trouble, when thousands of American men and women lost their jobs in that “state up north,” my heart bled for them and I was delighted that Congress united to find a solution to help the people in that state. Holding an opinion about an issue, disparate political, religious or cultural positions, should not dwarf our humanity. Nor should it mock our identity as “these United States.”
Don’t Let Opinions Tear You Apart
Here’s the catch. If you are a Christian then your opinions should line up with God’s word. Don’t worry. That’s still leaves plenty of canvas to disagree with others…if that’s your thing.
This is why I love Romans 14. “Accept other believers who are weak in the faith, and don’t argue with them…” We’re all entitled to our opinions, but Romans 14:20 warns us not to “tear apart the work of God” over what we believe. I’m going to take a bit of a leap and also suggest that we not tear apart the nation over what we believe, either.
My favorite part of Romans 14 is in verse 23…
If you do anything that you believe is not right, you are sinning.
When you saw George Floyd lying in the street with a knee on his neck, you felt something. If you are born again and filled with the spirit of God, you knew that was not right. When you hear friends and family members say things that make you cringe on the inside, you know it is not right. If there are things you’ve seen from politicians and protesters that you don’t want your children to emulate, you know it is not right.
When you know something is not right and you continue to allow it, you are sinning. That’s the Bible. We’re human. We rationalize and justify our bad behavior all the time. No? Just me. Okay. However, those of us who have the heart of God beating inside of us always know when something is not right.
Whether you are a Buckeye or a Wolverine, a donkey or an elephant, if you are a Christian— a true follower of Jesus, you know something is not right with our country right now. Our “somethings” may be different. That’s okay. The one thing we agree on— here are at Shine TYC— is to love everybody all the time….especially when their opinion is different than our own.