16 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. 17 The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
19 and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:16-19, CEB
Yesterday we talked about the importance of seeking reconciliation the aftermath of an incredibly destructive election cycle. As we continue to consider the ways in which this season has harmed us, I’d like to make a recommendation for how to talk about politics and what’s going on in our country moving forward.
There is far too much he-said, she-said. There is far too much effort wasted on telling people what to think or how to think. For instance, I recently saw a debate on abortion on Facebook. Someone said they were “pro-choice” and someone else said, “So you like killing babies?” That is simply no way to have a respectful, adult conversation.
How can we?
Let’s try this. Voice your own fear. Instead of telling someone why his/her candidate is going to ruin everything, voice a specific fear. Don’t say, “I’m afraid candidate ____ is going to ruin our country.” Try something like, “I see a lot of change in this country and it makes me uncomfortable.” You could say, “I tend to vote for financially conservative candidates because I worry about the long-term impact the national debt will have on our economy.” You could say, “I tend to vote for socially liberal candidates because I fear that many of my hardworking friends can’t make ends meet without assistance.” You could say, “I don’t feel as safe as I used to,” or, “I’m concerned about the rise of crime in my neighborhood,” or, “I lost my job and I don’t know what the future is going to look like.” These are all reasons why you may support someone, and when we frame our preferences within the context of our lives and our fears then we open the door for a conversation. People are willing to listen and dialogue when they understand the personal reasons for our choices.
This is a basic recovery principle. When you share, keep it with you. Voice your views and your experience. Understand that just because you’ve experienced something in a certain way doesn’t mean that this is true for everyone. People have different experiences of our world. Don’t tell other people what you assume they think (such as: “you like killing babies”). We can voice our opinions without bashing other people at the same time.
It’s a pity our candidates don’t model this behavior for us.