America has had a tough week.
And people are not coping well – on either side.
We had two deeply flawed candidates (aren’t we all deeply flawed?), not much middle ground, with very different visions on policies, beliefs, and convictions.
There have been thousands of blog posts. Majority are one-sided…even the ones that try to appeal to or reason with the other side have been filled with condescending jabs. Many have created deeper conflict.
So, what’s the solution?
I’ll get to that in a moment…
We didn’t get to the place we now find ourselves at over night, and the problems and issues will not and cannot be resolved overnight either.
There are solutions though…and they’re easier than what you may think.
None of the solutions have anything to do with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton…and both parties actually have a lot in common. I’ll show how later in this post.
Below are seven definitions and later in the post are seven pillars that anyone can choose to develop or implement. Each hold powerful ways to create lasting change in your relationships…your community…in America…and the world.
Truly think about the definitions to each of these qualities and consider how well you sincerely show these traits to others – particularly in regards to the election – as you read each one:
1. Virtue: moral excellence; goodness; righteousness….conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude…moral excellence.
2. Deference: respectful or courteous regard…respectful yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another.
3. Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person or a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
4. Value: to consider with respect to worth, excellence, or importance…relative worth, merit, or importance.
5. Respect: to hold in esteem or honor…esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability…to show regard or consideration for…to respect someone’s needs or rights.
6. Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.
7. Trust: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; to have confidence; to believe; to hope.
Now…think about how you may have responded to others this week.
EVERY situation of conflict…whether it’s discord, chaos, or conflict from a political election, divorce, family or relational conflict, etc…all happen (or rise to to the surface) due to one (or all) of these seven pillars being violated or misused.
And if every person is perfectly honest with themselves and others, we ALL need to implement and develop these incredibly important traits in our own lives to a much greater level.
I believe this election has been so particularly nasty because both candidates greatly failed in each area of these seven pillars. And the media and both sides of supporters – both Trump’s and Hillary’s – are now choosing to actively lack in these very important areas, too.
There are arguments everywhere, all over social media. There are even disruptive protests. Longterm friendships are dissolving…families are arguing…people are being incredibly rude and super destructive everywhere. To be honest, I have even been sucked into a few debates…I think majority of us have…so I’m talking just as much to myself as well.
Politics bring about an intense plethoric mix of passion and beliefs rolled into one. And these passionate beliefs are being recklessly conveyed by people who are braver behind a keyboard than what they would be in person. Majority of the opinions I have seen lack major self-control, class, and good character.
So where do we go from here? I’m not wise enough to have all of the solutions, but some very important verses come to mind:
“Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, gobuy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” ~Romans 12:14-20
Just looking at and actively applying this one passage of scripture – whether someone is of the Christian faith or not – would do an incredible amount of good in relationships, communities, schools, workplaces, churches, and the world.
Look for the good you can do to others. Whether it’s a family member, friend, someone who believes differently, or someone who voted radically differently than you.
Implement the following seven pillars in every area of your life. Think about who you’ve had conflict with, or who you’ve argued with, recently. Take a good, hard look at Romans 12:14-20 again and then ACTIVELY carry it out.
1. Virtue (the opposite of poor character)- How awesome could the world become if each person took responsibility and built up their own virtue and character?
2. Deference (the opposite of self-promotion and arrogance)– What would happen if people chose to stop arguing and sincerely listen…truly listen…to each other while showing deference to each other?
3. Love (the opposite of hate, racism, and selfishness)- What could happen if each person chose to act in love…Extravagant, intensely focused, and intentional LOVE? Love has the power to build bridges, to melt the flames of hate, to dramatically halt racism, and to cover over a multitude of sins. Love isn’t contingent on another person…it’s a personal decision…one that blooms in the heart of each individual. Love is the single greatest change anyone could ever hope to make in each relationship and ultimately the world.
4. Value (the opposite of ignoring, overlooking, criticizing, or neglect)- What if people chose to realize just how much value each person truly has? When people learn to value themselves and to deeply value others…what kind of impact could that have? A lack of valuing one another is the greatest root of ALL relational, political, and social issues.
5. Respect (the opposite of disrespect and disorder)- What about respect? Respect is something each person has to give if they expect to receive it: presidential candidates, parents, children, spouses, millennials, every generation…everybody. Choose to be respectful and behave respectfully – and more importantly, be respectable – starting today!
6. Honor (the opposite of apathy and ungratefulness)- What would happen if everybody chose to genuinely reawaken honor? What if each person chose to sincerely see and appreciate each other’s sacrifices, grief experiences, and hardships by honoring each person’s life while each person returned the favor? What if every time you saw another person, you treated them the very best you possibly could? Our world greatly lacks honor…honor for God, authority, spouses, the government, parents, laws, children, friends, employers/employees, teachers, etc. you can’t have a successful society, family, home, marriage, friendship, church, or work relationship without honor. Honoring another person is to treat that person as though they were absolute royalty. You see the great qualities in each other and work together to make things as great as they possibly can be. Families, friendships, marriages, churches, and countries could be dramatically transformed!
7. Trust (the opposite of lies, untruths, lack of follow through, misinformation, and misbelief)- Such a hard thing to earn and so incredibly easy to lose. How can you gain..or restore..the trust of others? Each person is known – favorably or unfavorably – by their honesty, integrity, and their word. Choose to be a person whose word can be counted on. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you won’t do something, then don’t. A person is either built or destroyed by their very own words and how truthful they are.
You know exactly who you disagree with or don’t like today: family or friends you’re in conflict with…church members you’ve had conflict with or don’t prefer…people who are different than you or who believe differently than you…even protesters. Why not think of what you personally can do to make things truly better? Do something nice…be kind…implement the seven pillars I mentioned – or any great character qualities you know of…say something positive to several people…simply choose to be a good human being.
Nothing changes if nothing changes – and nobody changes if nobody changes.
Change starts with one person.
Think what all has happened good in the world, just because one person chose to be a positive catalyst to change: Walt Disney…Martin Luther King, Jr…Susan B. Anthony…Abraham Lincoln…Rosa Parks…so many wonderful people who cared about others more than they cared about their own self.
There are also other names I could list who chose to be a catalyst to change but they did it in a very negative way.
What are people going to remember you by? What words or actions are you bringing to the table? The change you create by your words and actions will either prove to be a force-fed meal or an incredible gourmet dining experience. What type of words are we each preparing for others?
Be the change you’d like to see. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be selfless. Have the courage to be the bigger person. Be humble. Be full of mercy and grace. Seek to understand others and all situations. Be willing to do what is best for the greater good of humanity. Realize that sometimes, it is more powerful to choose to simply show love and deference (and the other seven pillars), even if you don’t agree with something…instead of showing the world hate, bias, or bitterness, be a catalyst of change through positive interactions– especially when it comes to social media.
Stop trying to be a loud voice and start actively trying to be part of a solution.
We each have WAY too much good in us to be degrading others. And every time we degrade others in words, thoughts, or actions? We’re really degrading ourselves, and our own personal character and reputations even more.
Are you going to be a part of the solution or part of the problem? Whether you are an American, in a marriage, family, church, or friendship…no matter what nationality, race, political party, gender, sexual orientation, or religion you are…you’re either going to choose to harm or heal. And everybody will be held accountable for their thoughts, beliefs, speech, and actions…and the consequences sadly show up strongest in the next generation.
Do you have the courage to change the dialogue? You can’t effectively change the world if you don’t first positively change the dialogue. Nobody listens to obnoxious nails on a chalkboard.
Look at the definitions I gave earlier once again…really look at them…and ask yourself where you truly are at in implementing positive change, good character and the seven pillars. When you choose to build these pillars, you truly become strong. When you choose to become strong in a genuine and caring way, you then hold the power to implement positive personal change – and then you will have the ability to powerfully influence and change your community and the world.
Think of where…and with who…you can start building bridges with by implementing these pillars today.
Remember this: Nobody is motivated by a bee or a swarm of angry bees…nobody. But most are motivated by sweetness. You can choose to be a stinger while ignoring the fact you have the powerful balm of honey in your possession. Everything you say and do expresses pain and discomfort – or sweetness and healing. The more character you develop in your life, the sweeter your life and the lives of those around you will become.
Go out into the world today, be a person of strength, be humble in all you do, and be the solution in the kindest way possible. Seek to understand others points of view…and you may just find that as you do that, they’re more willing to understand yours.
We all want the same things:to be treated with love, respect and fairness…to have happy, healthy, and whole families…to have the availability to take care of ourselves and the people we love…to be heard, valued and understood…to be safe and to have security…to have the freedoms we hold dear…and to have the ability to prosper.
This week has shown us that we have a ways to go. Americans have a long road ahead of us, but we will never make it until we stop and overcome the traffic jams, follow and respect the laws of our land, and do good to others.
Like I said earlier, things will not change over night…but with patience, hard work, and individual responsibility, great and amazing change will come!
What’s the first step you’ll choose to do to heal and restore your relationships & America today?
Gratitude & blessings…and may God richly bless America,
Here are some other posts you may find helpful that correlate to this post:
©2016 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.
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