Maybe you’ve felt it too…
We hate each other.
Maybe not you and me specifically, but you don’t need to go far in this broken world to find someone who hates you. They hate you for who you voted for. They hate you for what you believe. They hate you for who you are and what you stand for.
Does that bother you?
It bothers me.
In one sense, I wish it didn’t. I wish I was just immune to how other people feel about me and my beliefs. It would make life a lot easier, wouldn’t it? And, hey, for a while, I pretended I was immune. I don’t care, I told myself. But I never quite believed it.
In another sense, I’m glad all this hatred does bother me. Hostility is not good. It’s not healthy. It’s not right. And it is corroding our culture. More importantly, rancor is seeping into the souls of good people and infecting them (us—you and me) with the disease of hatred, fear, and polarization.
It’s us versus them, isn’t it? No more big happy family. Dig your foxhole. Lay down the barbed wire. Set up the machine gun. And get ready for a long, long fight.
Maybe you’ve felt—as I have—the pressure to join a tribe, to drive down a stake placing you on one side or the other of our polarized world.
It’s a dilemma, isn’t it?
On one hand, the issues matter. The candidates we elect, the decisions we make, the culture we create—it all shapes the world we hand off to our children and grandchildren—assuming there is a world to hand off to them.
On the other hand, maybe people you love have joined the opposite side—people from your church, your family, your place of work, or whatever. And you’ve felt a nagging hesitation. Sure, you’re clear in your own mind about the issues and where you stand. But something doesn’t feel right. You’re rallying for the good cause, and then you see your sister, coworker, church friend, loved one over on the other side.
Maybe you feel like you’re being set up.
I’ve felt that way.
Maybe you have already been in a shouting match, online or in person, with a friend, a family member, someone you care about, someone who doesn’t comprehend your deeply held beliefs. And afterward, whether you won the argument or not, you felt diminished and sad. In your quest to build a better world, something precious was lost.
Hey, it has happened to me.
We’ve been played
We’ve been played. The price of being right, the price of progress is polarization, alienation, shouting, rants, hurt feelings, and hate.
Sure, when you join a tribe, the echo chamber of that tribe will embrace you, but out there somewhere are good people—family, friends, people you care about—who won’t understand how you could align yourself with such “lunacy.”
If this wasn’t bad enough, maybe someone tried to voice your position on the issues, but they did it the wrong way—with angry words, with mob mentality, with violence, with hate, and now the people you want to reach are farther away than ever.
There’s gotta be a better way.
I’ve thought about this for a long time, and I’ve come to a conclusion:
It’s not okay for good people to hate each other.
But how do we end the divide?
For the answer, I look heavenward.
What happens in heaven?
In heaven, former civil rights leaders live side by side with former slave owners.
Think about that for a moment.
Former civil rights leaders
Former slave owners
Side by side
And now think about this: They’re not only okay with each other, they’re best buddies, True Friends. They understand each other. They respect each other. They trust each other. They love each other.
How did that happen?
What do they have that we don’t have?
What do they know that we don’t know?
Is there some way to take the answers to those questions and import them into our culture?
I think there is. And that’s what this book is all about.