It doesn’t take much to see that we are living in troubled times. It seems as though, in this country, half of the people want nothing to do with the other half. Our motto is no longer “E Pluribus Unum,” and that is not a sustainable way to live. We may be able to unfriend someone whose faith/politics/whatever we don’t like, but by doing so, we deprive ourselves of the chance to establish, or re-establish, a relationship with that person.
A verse that I recently came across has stuck with me, though not for the reason the person who posted it originally intended. It is Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The person who posted this verse on Facebook intended it as a warning against using swear words. I took that verse as a warning against using hateful and unkind speech – the kind of speech for which the use in this country seems to be increasing vigorously.
No matter which side of the political spectrum we as individuals stand on, my hope is that people would start to think that whenever we use speech that denigrates others with whom we disagree, we lose the chance to establish relationships. When we look at a person as just some insignificant “other,” when we look at the world with an “us-and-them” mentality, we lose sight of the fact that there is no “us-and-them” – it’s just one big “us.” May we acquire the wisdom to realize that, now more than ever, what unites us is – or should be – more important than what divides us.