From Polarizing to Loving
There is a human reaction that occurs in every society: Polarization. One person steps to one side of an issue, and the other person – feeling the need to bring balance – steps to the other side.
The first person may feel unheard, or may simply feel the need to express their opinion more fully or strongly, so they end up pulling harder in the first direction. But, the second person – for similar reasons – pulls in the equal, but opposite direction.
As you can imagine the first person again steps further to their “side,” while the second person does similarly.
Polarization is happening currently in our communities. One group may feel more concern about COVID’s health consequences, while another group may feel more concern over the economic consequences of stay home orders. And, of course, there are other concerns as well. Each group is reasonable.
Each group has logical reasons for leaning into one set of solutions for the problem.
But some problems become bigger the more polarized we become:
- We feel less heard and more misunderstood. We start demanding that our voice be heard.
- We pull further and further into our own understanding and, become convinced that the other “side” has nothing to contribute to the solution. We begin treating the other side with contempt.
- The further we pull to one side, the more convinced we become that our view of the problem will not be resolved. We then act out of fear instead of love.
Bad News/Good News
Bad news: We’re part of the problem of polarization.
Good news: If we’re part of the problem, we can be part of the solution.
Our goal is to love. Jesus says it in John 15 over and over. Love. Remain in my love. Obey my command. (Wait, what was his command? Oh yeah, love.) So how do we love in times like these? (More specifically, how do we respond on Facebook in times like these?)
- Listen.Try to understand the other person’s view and why they hold it. What makes their opinion important to them? (PS – you’ll have to ask questions.)
- Humble yourself. Consider others better than yourself. Know that you have only a part of the solution and you need the other person’s view to get to the best solution possible.
- Put your hope in God. Whether you fear death, isolation, bankruptcy, or having to use leaves to wipe, God is with us. He cares very much about what is happening and promises to stay with us no matter what. As we remain in Him, we’re able to offer our friends, family, and neighbors a kind of hope that we all need.
Dr. Veronica Johnson, Psychologist and Co-Owner of Envision Counseling Clinic