I was at a friend’s house when the news came on TV the other night. Of course, the impeachment process was the headline news. And interesting, vibrant conversation ensued. We didn’t agree on everything, but we respected each other as we talked, and we agreed on one important point: as a culture, we’ve become less respectful of each other and less willing to engage with people who differ from us. We’ve become more stuck in our ways despite a loud platform of tolerance. We are situationally non-discriminating. In general, we either dismiss or vehemently oppose anything that differs from our own views and experiences.
The conversation with my friends didn’t seem to fall into that category, but even when I’m not living out the general assumptions I’m making about our culture, I am part of the “we.” Regardless of our best intentions, each of us has to stay engaged with the problem in order to become part of the solution.
Living room conversations aren’t comfortable, but they are more likely to be infused with respect and patience than social media or other large group conversations. More personal conversations demand our presence and engagement, and they invite accountability.
Whether online or in person, as the difficult hot topics arise, refuse to hold on so tightly that you lose the influence you have on others and others have on you. Refuse to hold on so loosely that you miss an opportunity to influence and be influenced.
Truth check yourself constantly. Quit repeating what you’ve been told. Seek truth and wisdom of how to respond well, because until you do, you are likely firmly stuck in the problem with both feet, hands, mouth, and mind.