We tend think more individually than communally, at least, in the USA. If this season in our nation has taught us anything, it’s how much we want what we want and how far we’re willing to go for it. Even many who claim they love the nation and are pursuing its growth and health do so with the assumption, claim, and justification that it must be the way they prefer. Whether they claim it’s a return to something or a dream for the future, it’s what they want. Sadly, we seem to struggle with others who differ in the approach, although those people could possibly love community and unity as much as we do.
Unity seems to be an “us” thing. Disunity seems to be a “them” thing.
It’s their fault, whichever side of an argument or issue you’re on. But guess what? We and us don’t exist without a lot of me. The problem doesn’t exist without the responsibility of me and a multitude of me.
I don’t want to focus on political parties and assumptions here, so please take a step back and look at this with a broader perspective. It will speak to your willingness to think beyond your preferences and comfort.
I hear many people saying government should not have any say in our lives or at least minimal say. Many of you are my close friends. We’ve had some interesting conversations this year, including this reminder: If we, as individuals and collectively, took personal responsibility and considered community impact, there wouldn’t be much need for government involvement except to help navigate and streamline the ways we’re living well with others, helping others, and sharing and caring. Each of us is accountable.
We might be surprised our government—and be sure to use the collective our, because as a citizen, whether you agree or not, whether you voted or not, belong to the collective we—takes action? But we didn’t come together to make a difference on our own. We made problems worse. We ignored our neighbors. We disrespected each other and minimized the value of others. We rationalized our own behavior and sent shock waves that have rattle our neighbors, communities, and even our government. These aren’t us vs. them problems we’re dealing with, and the longer we finger point, the less energy we have to put on our big girl and big boy panties and humbly work together.
How can we carry one another’s burdens or love one another or serve one another if our actions actually ignore someone, claim they don’t matter or are wrong, or basically flip them off? Because that’s what’s happening. In our strivings to claim our own ground and get what we want, we’re stepping all over others.
Our disrespect is disgraceful. It makes me sad, but not sad enough to give up hope. Let’s do this life thing well together. Let’s weave our differences together and be better together. For those of us who follow Jesus’ example, we don’t have much of an option if we want an authentic, live-out-loud faith.
This might seem like an invitation, admonition, or challenge to you. Let’s stretch our arms widely and reach.