Last week, I read my friend Keli Gwyn's post Staying Positive in a Negative World.
Even though her post was primarily about publishing, I couldn't get the title out of my head, as it resonated with many other non-publishing related situations this weekend.
We had some bad news splashed all over the media yesterday.
Remember when the crazy guy shot the Amish schoolchildren a few years back, and their parents offered nothing in return but love and forgiveness? Why was America so moved? Because those Amish people were countercultural. They did not become obsessed with assigning blame. They did not spread hatred and pain. Instead, they absorbed it and gave back peace instead.
When we hear bad news and immediately let it spread its cloud over us and darken our thinking, we are falling into the culture of the world. When we get angry and blame others for a tragedy, or, alternatively, we get angry because someone is being blamed and we feel that person or party is innocent, we are just dupes of the world.
No one listens to anger. There's so much floating around that our sulking or shouting just blends in with all the rest.
People listen to love.
When's the last time you heard someone talk politics with love?
I haven't heard it often. In fact, one of the reasons I often avoid political discussions is because people take them as a license to vent their extreme dislike of one person, or one party, or one law.
I heard a man talk politics with love in the parking lot of a Goodwill the other day. He had my full attention. As he unloaded my donation, he talked to me about his concern for what the politicians are doing to the people of this country: how they are dividing and turning us against one another.
I could not agree more.
The real battle is not between Republicans and Democrats, black and white, or rich or poor. The battle is between those who treat others with love and respect, and those who abuse and deride others, or even murder them, in the ultimate act of abuse.
The problem is, we've become so confused about the terms of our debate that we no longer understand whose side we're supposed to be on.
If we're Christian, then our God should be the God of Love. Most understand that being on the side of love means we must not murder. But we must also say no to disrespectful words, to abuse, to argument in which we just want to be superior or to win.
That means even when we talk politics, we stay positive in a negative world. Does that mean we can't disagree with something? No. But it means we don't get abusive, we don't ridicule others, and we don't pass around blame. It means we don't say things about people behind their backs that are unkind or derisive, no matter how misguided we think their beliefs or policies might be. That includes public figures!
Love: the Ultimate Countercultural Act.
How can we spread it today? Because THAT is what it means to "fight the good fight."