Responding with kindness to Satan shoes, kneeling during the nat’l anthem, and more…

Over the past several years, we’ve watched people become divided about so many issues. Colin Kaepernick and his stance on kneeling during the national anthem, the Black Lives Matter movement, vaccines, education, masks, in-person church vs. online, politics, conspiracy theories, etc. People love to post or repost stances/stories on things. Celebrities weigh in on social issues. Pastors weigh in on political issues. Kids post tik tok videos on issues.

Most people do not even know they are victims of something called confirmation bias. This is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values (wikipedia actually had a great definition in this case…) It is why you feel your phone is listening to you-it is. Social media has used the “like” “subscribe” “recommended for you”, or even how long you look at certain pictures/posts to then send you more of what you were looking at or show interest in. Therefore, if all you ever see if information based off of one opinion or view, people tend to get very critical of those who don’t follow what they follow!

The tensions that result from all of these issues come up in counseling daily. Families members struggle to speak to one another over political differences. Teammates struggle to get along over social issues. Kids are fearful that their friends of a different race will no longer like them. Sadly, the answer is not to stay quiet. Nor is the answer to just scream, yell at others, or post your point of view. I truly believe the answer is to listen, love one another, and to be considerate.

If we want to our world to be more united, we must consider doing the following:

1-Listen to and learn from the views of others.

2-If you are online or on social media, follow people of different viewpoints not just the same as you believe to prevent confirmation bias.

3-Don’t let differing viewpoints stand in the way of relationships! Jesus was in relationship with many people who didn’t believe the way he believed…

4-Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about different viewpoints. Share why you believe what you do, but teach them to use critical thinking skills and how to think for themselves. If you don’t, you may wonder why they went to college one day and come home believing something completely opposite of what you taught them the next. Give them a heads up…talk about it all beforehand not in a fearful way.

5-Remember, the only TRUTH is scripture (the Bible) period. The internet, FB, news, and opinions of others are valid outside of scripture. Spend more time in the word that on any other platform, etc.

6-Consider what the word would be like is Christ followers would try to go love the creator of the “Satan shoes” instead of just posting terrible things about him. Consider would our nation look like if Christ followers went and truly acted like they cared to know why Colin K was kneeling even if they disagree? What is Christ followers sought out the leaders of the BLM movement and got to know the creators and tried to love them?

When is the last time you spoke to someone who believes differently from you and tried to lovingly listen?

We cannot become a people who stop loving those who disagree or we will not be like Jesus, period. Relationship changes people, negativity and division do not.

Dr. Atwell

 Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”