Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are.
I dropped Mark off at the barber and then ran to get a latte. When I got back, I sat in a chair behind him and listened to the conversation. His regular barber was gone for the week, so a new guy was busy getting him all spiffed up. He was a young guy and asked Mark how long he had been married. After his reply, he asked him what it takes to have a long marriage. Mark answered, “You can choose to be happy or right. I choose happiness.” Wow! My brilliant husband.
Later that same day I listened to a talk given by Beth Moore at Truett Seminary, Taking the Low Road. As I listened to her speak, she mirrored so much of my own history of faith…and recent frustrations. Our world is now dominated by tribes — social, political, gender, race, theological — to name a few. And if you not in the “right” tribe, you are dismissed as not only wrong but stupid.
I am old enough to be able to remember when families grew up in suburbia where neighbors, teachers, pastors, and police all worked together to support each other. Now, teachers are on their own and berated with criticism from parents as they try to guide a misbehaving or lazy student. Neighbors? No one is home and if they are, they are locked up with their computers. Don’t call the police. You may get a social worker. And the church…check the latest statistics for attendance. Don’t research the fights going on in various denominations.
I agree with Beth that the problem is a lack of humility. Everyone wants to be right. I found out the hard way in my own life. I used to say, “It’s hard to be married to someone who is almost always right.” And my marriage did not last. I got a huge dose of humility when the divorce occurred. Now, I want to follow Mark’s advice and choose to be happy.
Our nation is so divided because each party thinks they are right. Ronald Reagan said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” I remember walking the halls in Sacramento seeking endorsements when I was running for office in the California Republican Party. I am a strong pro-life conservative and not all of my fellow Republicans felt the same way. But they would offer me a chair and we would talk. Each time, I got the endorsement. They could see that I was not scary and would look out for the greater good. I don’t get the impression that our current politicians feel this way. It’s all about being right and getting their way.
As believers in Christ, we have the perfect example in Jesus for our conduct. He talked to sinners, even had dinner with them. He was not out to divide but to bring us together in faith and love. How do we change the current situation? Be humble.
I’m looking forward to that day when all sorrow, strife, anger, and division will cease. Heaven is looking good.