It’s possibly more common than we realize — exaggerating the truth and demonizing the opposition to give our side an edge.
Creating a strawman scenario, maybe even a common enemy, and then professing to have the solution happens across all parts of life, even in our faith families.
Vote this way, follow this guideline, support this person — whatever or whomever is being posited as the answer should be carefully evaluated before going all in with support.
After review and time spent in prayer seeking the most important guidance, which is that of the Lord through meditation on His word, we can have the confidence our decision on how to proceed is motivationally pure.
Additionally, we will have peace that God can handle what might happen because of the various decisions made. He’s not limited by anything we do.
What is unfortunate is when Christians act unChristlike in their advocacy for a certain position and/or demonstrate ugliness toward those holding a different conviction.
It is even more disturbing to discover some who are OK with being judgmental, partaking in name calling and walking the line on slandering another individual but protest when it happens in reverse.
An “ends justify the means” mentality is dangerous and should frighten us regarding our integrity if we find ourselves participating in such actions.
We should question whether we’ve heightened ourselves above the Lord, thinking He needs us to help Him out.
The ability to make the effort to understand the other side and show compassion in the process only enhances our witness. It doesn’t need to be feared.
Allowing someone with an opposing view the opportunity to share his or her reasoning and truly listening with an intent to understand does not equate to agreeing with nor accepting the viewpoint.
It doesn’t mean we have sinned; it doesn’t mean we don’t believe the Bible.
Instead, it demonstrates our confidence in our own understanding and showcases the strength of Christ in us.
We truly can stand strong on convictions and work calmly and respectfully to share our interpretation without rejecting someone who might be wrestling with the issue at hand.
But it’s harder that way. It takes more time and energy and means we might end up not having all the answers.
It also could lead us to think more deeply on a subject we thought we had settled in our mind, and that likely scares us.
At the same time, it could confirm what we’ve determined we believe on the matter and provide clarity for others.
Opportunity to understand
We all need the freedom to think deeply, question consistently and discuss thoroughly as we work through a specific topic or situation.
Even as the number of difficult life issues compound on top of each other — leaving us with a continual sense of being beaten up — I urge you to resist the temptation to devour each other in the need for a win.