James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
A few months ago, I began a crazy process of intentionally re-thinking through every stance I ever thought to be true. Let me give you a little background on my life. As a pastors kid, it was always important to know what I "stood" for.
Now, before you begin thinking I am about to endorse about one party or the other, I am NOT. As you will read on I hope you see where I am going.
As I got older, things began to get complicated. Sure, I felt strongly about certain issues, but truth be told there were times I became completely underwhelmed at how the issues were being (un)solved by my "party." Looking to the other side of the aisle proved the same.
In the wake of picking sides, I saw my friends become polarizing to those who joined the other party. All of us self righteous. And all the sudden, everyone thought they had picked the right "side" but no one was really solving anything... all we were doing was fighting.
As I have sat back and watched all this happen, I have decided that playing sides has gotten us nowhere. As it turns out, many of today's issues are not even truly solve-able by government policy... rather, they begin by changes in the human heart. God never commanded for us to choose a Party or permanent stance, He asked us to diligently seek God's James 3:17 wisdom for our lives. "Pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
Taking a permanent stance can be dangerous. In essence, it's saying that you are no longer open to thinking differently or learn new anything new. Hearing actual people with experience, seeing new perspectives, or listening to research doesn't make you a traitor to your stance, it makes you wiser. Unfortunately in our society, changing your mind or looking through the eyes of the other is somehow looked down upon, rather than encouraged.
Imagine if people still believed the earth was flat. Once upon a time people took stances about it's apparent flatness… people were even killed if they radically believed that it wasn’t. It wasn’t until a few brave people actually decided to step out and into exploration that they discovered the truth that the earth is ROUND. Hundreds of years later we are STILL discovering the truth of our earth and all it’s mysteries.
Just like our ancestors didn't have the answers then, I don’t believe I have all the knowledge or answers today. And I don’t believe that the stances of our political parties are complete, either. They are partial, incomplete, and discriminatory. Yes, that’s right BOTH sides are discriminatory.
I will share an example of stance discrimination based upon two members of my family... A child born of rape and the mother who was raped...both in an impossibly painful situation. Can you imagine the unbearable pain the debates on abortion stances brings to each of them? BOTH left and right placed discrimination on these two family members. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks of how. (It wasn't because stances were "pure;peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere.")
All the while, people are choosing their stances and arguing over policy on which one's rights are more important. (Isn't the actual definition of discrimination is defining one persons rights as more important than the other?) And isn't that the greatest debate of our time? Like it or not, most of our debates center around which humans deserve rights and dignity and which don't.
Take a step back from stances and ask yourself to view the actual PEOPLE affected, hear their stories, study & research, think of new ideas to HELP the people in these situations improve, not just to impose your personal viewpoint. Hot topics I invite you to explore with me are race discrimination, immigration, abortion, gay marriage, homelessness, foster care, the addiction epidemic, gangs and welfare. Every person involved in these topics is longing for dignity and respect.
When you talk to the PEOPLE in these situations, your heart will be opened. When you explore SOLUTIONS, the possibilities become endless. When you extend a hand of HELP, you can stop their bleeding, and most importantly you see the heart of GOD for the people he created.
Maybe our new focus should change from what stance to take, to what problem to help solve and how to care for people… ego and agenda completely aside. I believe if we want TRUE change to happen in our society, it won’t come by dividing our selves into parties, stances, and categories. Dividing means NONE of us win. Change comes by uniting and working together to solve issues with helpful, inclusive solutions that treat EVERY human with dignity.
I believe this generation is tired of the politics, and is ready for real movement.
Let's be less concerned about which stance we have, and far MORE concerned with seeking out wisdom, and solutions that assign dignity.
My hope is to inspire us to create change that extends beyond party, and into our everyday. That's true change we can unite around.