Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Hope For America

My country is bleeding right now. Divided into two separate sides. At least that's what a lot of people are thinking, that the other half of the population has no understanding of how their feeling, that they're belief system is twisted and wrong.
I've seen the evidence of this belief on both sides of the argument.
What scares me the most though, is how black and white we think the issue is, when really it's a lot more muddy and grey.
Lessons from Harry Potter
I was talking with a friend this morning, who was telling me how nervous he is for the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He has a strong dislike for the director, David Yates, because Yates focuses more on style than on character.
When I asked him what he meant, he started describing the differences Yates made to the last few Harry Potter movies to what actually happened in the books.
The best example he gave me was when in the book, Harry tells an enemy, Peter Pettigrew, that he forgives him and if his parents were alive, they'd forgive him too. Peter is so moved by this astonishing forgiveness; he knows he's so completely unworthy of it - being the one who helped murder Harry's parents - but he's eager to live up to this incredible forgiveness and decides to help Harry and his friends escape.
In the movie version, Harry and his friends just knock Peter out and escape and the story suffers as a consequence. The message of forgiveness is lost completely.
My friend kept talking about how the characters are not black and white, they are a mix and I can't help think of the correlation to what I see happening in the US.
We've become a people so fixed on blaming the other side for the splinter in their eye that we've forgotten to take the log out of our own eye first (Matthew chapter 7, verse 5). There is no side that is all right and no side that is all wrong.
The more we point the finger, the more divided we'll become.
Lessons from The Project
The night of the election, I watched Channel TEN's The Project. I've always liked their more laid back way of sharing the news, but I was surprised with a rather heated segment.
Steve Price and Jamila Rizvi exchanged, what I felt, was an uncharacteristically tense conversation.
Jamila was asked a question, and Steve Price started sharing his opinion. He didn't get far into his opinion when Jamila started to explain what she felt about what he was saying. What followed was an awkward few moments of both trying to say their piece, until Price went quiet. Jamila finished what she had to say and Price came back with, "This is why Donald Trump won..."
What I noticed was that both parties were in the wrong, but only one was called out on their tone. My point is not to place blame on one or the other. In fact, I've strived to be as non-biased as possible with even my word choice in describing the situation, because what I want to focus on is that both made wrong choices. Both of them fought to be heard over the other. BUT, both of them are human beings, fallible and prone to make mistakes.
What I'm getting at, is that we all make mistakes.
The majority of people on both sides of the vote were not "out to get" the other side, but that's what we're all believing now.
I have friends tell me, "The other side may have meant well, but now I'm living in fear of what will happen to me." And what may surprise you, is that I hear that from Hilary supporters AND Trump supporters.
Half of my country is scared that the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation are going to be ridiculed and bullied. The other half are scared that they're going to be ridiculed and bullied because they voted for Trump and therefore must be bigots and rednecks.
We've stereotyped BOTH sides and it's killing us. It has to stop.
The only way I see it stopping is for us to be more like Harry Potter. To recognise that once, Peter Pettigrew was a close friend of his parents' and the only way to end the "war" is to extend his hand in forgiveness.
My country will continue to bleed until every American chooses the higher road of forgiveness. Until we can look at the other side and stop seeing it as the "other side" and recognise them as people. Neighbours, friends, even family.
In his acceptance speech, President-elect Donald Trump said, "Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division... to all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation I say it is time for us to come together as one united people."
I don't know if he really meant those words or if he was pandering to a crowd. But the people of the US have the opportunity to choose to be united or not. No one man can change us, or unite us - no president ever has - it's going to take every single one of us to make the choice.
Can we do it?
Can we choose to lay aside our differences and hurt and be the bigger person and forgive? Can we focus on what we have in common and really choose love for one another over pointed fingers and hatred? I truly hope so and this is what I will continue to pray for.

This is my hope for my country.

Originally published on Christian Today

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