We live in a time where political tensions are high and often times, unescapable. Every major news outlet and every major social media source is full of political ranting and raving. I am completely over it! How about you? If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last 2 years, it’s that political debates on social media and on the news, only end with both parties angry, and uglier than they were to start with.
We seem to be stuck in extremism, both left and right. By that, I mean there’s extreme liberalism, and extreme conservatism, and very little in between. The political climate has changed in such a way where people are more divisive than ever. Assumptions are made that “If you’re _________(insert a political party), than you’re ________ (insert negative adjective here).” People aren’t people anymore, they are walking political platforms.
Pride is trumping peace. (Insert Trump joke of your choice here, I cannot since I am in the military). People are too proud to submit to resolutions. Hence, the government shutdown. This affected me personally. I wasn’t allowed to see Rocky Mountain National Park, and I wasn’t able to do my monthly Battle Assembly with the Army as a result of government shutdown.
People are dying of preventable disease, while others are profiting from them. Take a peek at any one of those Netflix docs and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Mental illness and addiction are staggering. Is this because we want to escape the world we live in? Did you know, that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. right now? (asp.org)
Now, enough with the negative talk.
I’m sure you get the picture of how exactly our world is broken. How can we possibly love others in this angry and often hate fueled atmosphere? Rest assured, it is entirely possible. Here’s how I have decided to embrace the broken, messy world as it is, not as I would have it (that should sound pretty familiar for those of you in recovery who know the Serenity Prayer).
Just like we learned in recovery, step one is surrendering. Pride must be surrendered in order to love this broken, messy world. We must decide that loving ourselves comes second to loving others.
Stop Hating. Change begins with you. Before you reply to that extreme political rant, ask yourself, is this really going to change this individual, or is it adding fuel to the fire? Never, in the history of ever, have online political debates ended pretty. Families get separated (emotionally). Friendships get damaged. Professionals get fired. Don’t engage. Set your boundaries, and stick to them.
Live your passion. I know what you’re thinking, first you tell me to stop engaging then you tell me to be passionate, what gives? Well, passion is a very good thing, if harnessed in the right direction, and as long as it is respectful to others. God gave us each unique and different gifts and talents. He also gave us hearts to fuel those gifts and talents. If done correctly, your passion should aim to change the world in a positive way.
Extend compassion to all. Last time I checked, we were all broken sinners, who fall short of being God. Why then, do we want to act like him and judge others? It’s easy to extend compassion to the homeless. What about that grouchy neighbor who rats you out to the HOA (Home Owners Association) for leaving your trash cans out an extra day? We have a saying here in the south, and it’s “Bless Your Heart.” I find myself saying that phrase when I need to extend compassion to someone I dislike. It often reminds me to pray for that person.
Practice hope, and build resilience. Train your mind to see the beauty that exists around you and around the country. I mentioned in the beginning of this article that technology is filled with hate. It’s also filled with love. I have found a tremendous amount of love, hope, and have built resilience through various technological advances such as social media. Anyone who can access google can access information on building hope and resilience. Anyone who cannot access google, can find the information at a local library. There’s no excuse for ignorance anymore!
Finally, take the time to focus on the next generation. Give more, and take less. The eyes of the next generation are upon us. It’s impossible to see the world as a crappy place when you are pouring into the generation that will lead it someday. What kind of atmosphere are you creating for them? They are looking to us for guidance and direction…when they’re not looking at their phones anyway.
So, there you have it. Several different ways in which you can learn to love this broken, messy world just a little bit more. I personally choose to see the world through rose petal glasses. Not just because the view is better, but because I can rock some sunglasses. Hope you find yourself a little more hopeful and positive as a result of this article.
Romans 5:3 “not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Stay Sober My Friends!