We all feel it—the divisiveness in our communities and society. Some feel it within their families, workplaces, and friend groups. I hear comments and see social media posts and comments. And I think each of us needs to acknowledge:
COVID-19 is not pitting us against one another.
The vaccine is not pitting us against one another.
Mask mandates are not pitting us against each other.
The government is not pitting us against each other.
Media is not pitting us against each other.
Politics are not pitting us against each other.
We are pitting ourselves against each other. We are blaming each other for causing division instead of seeing it in ourselves. We are adamant our opinions need to be heard so we speak them loudly, but only those who agree with us listen. We divide ourselves from others. Or we are adamant our opinions won’t be heard, so we stay quiet. We assume speaking up with only cause divisions, and that assumption is what often causes subtle but damaging division.
We have influence, and we have responsibility. We can be respectful. We can stop blaming others, and we can respond with healthy conversations and generous listening. Each of us can continue to encourage divisions, or we can encourage unity. We don’t have to be uniform in order to establish unity. We can differ in our opinions yet agree to stay connected and find common ground, even if that common ground is to simply respect and engage well. Every small effort matters.