If you brave to watch the national news, regardless of network, you will no doubt get a glimpse of just how divided our nation is today. There are any number of divisive issues impacting our communities and our nation. These issues include gun control measures, abortion rights, immigration policies, spending plans, energy policies, and many more issues that can divide people. Throw in an investigation of a former president, an investigation of the current president’s son, and many more state or local issues and there is plenty of opportunity for sides to be chosen and division to occur.
These are real issues that aren’t going away any time soon. They are important topics that need to be fully discussed and debated with all possible alternatives evaluated. We are blessed to be in a country where we can express our views, vote our views, and even run for office if we feel so inclined. We need to recall how fortunate we are to have those rights and opportunities.
As we exercise those rights and opportunities, we do need to be mindful of how we communicate with others. We see too much anger, violence, and hatred to those that have a different view. Whatever happened to listening to others to gain understanding of their perspective? Whatever happened to exercising mutual respect of one another regardless of personal views on a matter? Whatever happened to realizing that we don’t always get our way?
Respecting one another doesn’t mean we give up our opinion or our right to think independently. It doesn’t mean that we must conform to popular thinking. It does mean that we listen, ask questions, and value one another even if we disagree with their opinions on a matter. We have too many people today seeking to win an argument rather than explain a position. We have too many people today seeking to push their view rather than understand a problem. We have too many people today seeking only to fight for their rights as opposed to also exercising their responsibility.
We need our leaders to unite us not divide us. Leaders focus on unity by identifying common purpose for their community, organization, or team. We should all be able to find common purpose in desiring safety for our residents, effective education systems for our young people, strong economies for our people to work, accessible reliable health care for our people, and many more common purposes that unite a community, a state, and a nation. Sure, we may debate how to achieve these desires, but we do so with common purpose.
Beyond common purpose, we can all play a role by elevating the needs of others. By focusing on others over self, we get a new perspective of life, build bridges of relationships, and promote unity. The phrase that we have all heard before – “Don’t think less of yourself, just think of yourself less” fully supports this focus on others. Over 2000 years ago, a guy named Paul said, “But in humility to count others more significant than yourself. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.” There has been a need for unity for many years!
Whether it’s mutual respect of one another, common purpose, or a focus on others, I hope we can rediscover the value in unity, embrace respectful discussions, and move away from all this division. There is unity in community.
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