Today we are faced with sever divisions in our country where people on the extremes of both political and religious arguments hate those who disagree. The idea of meet me in the middle is abhorrent and leaves no room for dialogue. Sometimes we are conflicted within ourselves. There are some areas of my thinking that are very conservative and other areas where I am very liberal. That confuses people who think I should be one way or another across the board. Some of them call me not so pleasant names.
Being hated or labeled for my beliefs is uncomfortable at best but is it not surprising in today’s world. The question to ask myself is, “What do I do with that discomfort?” I can hate them right back but that only makes me like them and I do not want that for my self. It is fortunate that my discomfort helps me examine my convictions and develop a positive response. As a Christian pastor I look to the scriptures for my guide and discover that Jesus faced the same kind of challenges both religious and political.
First I need to check my attitude. Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Good idea! Renew my mind by reviewing facts from all directions. If I watch only Fox or only MSNBC I get distorted views. By watching both and PBS Newshour I can sort out what is and is not. If I read only conservative religious commentary or only liberal commentary I am short on facts. Renewing my mind and seeking what is pleasing to God is a good starting place.
Second I need to accept the fact that what ever my beliefs are they will be ridiculed by someone somewhere. By accepting that concept and renewing my mind about my convictions I can live in peace with God and the people around me.
Third I need to check my actions by the teachings of Jesus who said to love your enemies and do good to those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you. Love is the real key to both my faith and all my other relationships.