Over the past year, I have continued to witness a shocking and painful trend within Christendom and America. I have watched and listened as Christians drastically moved away from acting Christ-like and Americans move away from treating others like human beings deserving of love and respect. What has happened to our world?

Typically, the situation goes like this: person A says that one position is correct, person B disagrees but then it gets personal and means spirited. Both sides make personal attacks against the other person and instead of listening and debating the issues it degenerates into ammunition that fuels more hate and division. Our world is so politically charged and divisive; a time when both sides are constantly hurling accusations and false ideas at each other. Racial, political, social, and religious tensions are at an all-time high. Things have got to change.

The standing motto for Americans (Christians included) must be, “Agree with me or I am your enemy.” Every idea and word are automatically perceived as an act of aggression that degenerates into outright war. The problem is that both sides are standing strong; both sides are opposed to those on the other side, and willing to do or say almost anything in their vain attempts to win.

My question is simple. What has happened to our country? What happened to civility, respect for others, freedoms (civil rights), or critical thinking? And most importantly for Christians, what has happened to Christ-likeness? I have dear friends and family members on both sides of this horrible conflict. I care for them deeply and don’t want to see any of them hurt. Yet, the pattern remains; people continue to hurt and be hurt without daring to question if it is necessary or could be avoided.

Perhaps a glimpse into the past is needed. Throughout history, nations have risen to greatness only to eventually decline. Sometimes they degrade to the point of civil wars and great atrocities toward their fellow man but they always fall. Every time this happens a typical pattern emerges. When great nations begin to face hardships and difficulties; instead of accepting responsibility and looking for answers, they begin to look for a scapegoat. They want someone to blame for the problems instead of looking for solutions.

It happened in Germany (they blamed the Jews) and Rome (they blamed the Christians). In America, it’s been a long list: other countries, native Americans, immigrants, northerners, southerners, blacks, whites, liberals, conservatives, atheists, and yes even Christians. Everyone is looking for someone else to blame for their problems.

Isn’t it time that we change this? Isn’t it time that we look for a solution instead of a scapegoat? Isn’t it time that we take responsibility for our actions toward others? Isn’t it time we take a cue from Jesus and focus on becoming the best person we can possibly be? We cannot control anyone else; especially their beliefs and ideas about what is right. If we cannot force ourselves into acting a certain way. Why would we think it would work on anyone else? All you can do is be the best “You” possible and love others, no matter their beliefs, nationality, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. I don’t mean that you must accept their beliefs or actions as something you would embrace. But, you must love and respect each other or our world will continue to fall until there is no fixing it.

Just remember, Jesus commanded us to love: isn’t it time we get back to doing that.

Matthew 22:37–40

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. “This is the great and first commandment. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””

Jeff

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