Social media has afforded us many benefits as well as drawbacks as a society. One thing that could be viewed as either, depending on your perspective, is the ability to post opinions and all manner of multi-media about topics such as religion and politics. Not only can we easily post controversial items, which may or may not ever be brought up in polite face-to-face conversation, but we can sound off from the comfort of our keyboard, without ever having to speak a word or see the reactions of people who may disagree with us.
This can be both good and bad. For one, it allows us to more clearly see the political leanings of those we follow on social media. It is enlightening in that regard. I for one rarely bring up politics when talking to people in person, but if you want to know where I stand on various issues, a quick look at my Twitter profile says a lot. Similarly, I learn volumes about the leanings of friends from all stripes of life on social media – information that I might not otherwise ever know.
I have many friends and acquaintances, for whom I have a great deal of respect, who hold vastly different views on key issues. The reason I know of it is because of social media. I largely keep to myself about politics on Facebook, because 1) I used to be overactive, and all it got me was being unfriended by a bunch of people and a constant feeling of anger and 2) I’ve found that some who disagree feel free (as I suppose they should) to chime in and argue and make counterpoints, sometimes relentlessly. Frankly, it is tiresome. Of all the things I could do with my most valuable resource, time, arguing with people online about politics ranks rather low on my priority list. So I just don’t do it much.
That being said, with the midterm elections upon us, it occurred to me that a message of unity could be a cool drink of water to soothe the metaphorical sore throats amidst all the digital screaming and shouting going on.
Some of my friends and acquaintances know where I stand politically and morally. Others may not. Some of you may not know anything about me. That is OK. The message is the same.
If we have differences of opinion, even if we are both passionate about our respective conflicting stances, I still respect you.
If we’ve fellowshipped before, have had or still have a close relationship, I care about you.
Even if we’ve only ever been acquaintances, or maybe we’ve not met, I am well aware that you add value to the world.
If you have at one time been in my inner circle and through various shifting influences have altered your worldview to take on one that differs from one that we may have once shared, I still enjoy your company.
If you find my stances horrific, chances are, the feeling is mutual. But I still honor and respect your right to hold those views, and expect that you will extend the same courtesy to me.
If you happen to engage in name-calling and/or arguments based on emotion over fact against those who disagree with you, I will fight with every fiber in my being to not return the favor.
No matter what you believe politically, you and I have one important thing in common. We were both created in God’s image, and we are both loved deeply by Him. Because of this truth, I owe you all the respect and honor worthy of one hand-crafted by the King of Kings (see Psalm 139:13-16).
Should we cross paths in the future, or perhaps share a meal or get together for coffee, I promise you this. I will treat you with kindness, respect, and warmth. Should our divergent ideas come up in conversation, I will listen with the goal of understanding your viewpoint. I hope you will do the same for me.