Some days are more visible reminders of the need for kindness than others, and we’ve had some of those days in the past few.
In a world where everyone’s truth matters, where people with opposing views can both be right at the same time, there is bound to be plenty of conflict.
And that conflict so often boils over into the social media world — such an irony that social media is characterized as being anti-social. People are tempted to use language in their messaging they wouldn’t entertain if they were face-to-face with people, and this, so routinely, with strangers.
We’ve all been in situations where a post or a meme got us into reaction mode. We felt led to make a comment, and before we knew it, someone we don’t even know is engaging with it. And tensions rise.
If my view on politics, ethics, law, etc is strong, I might well imagine I’m going to come into contact with others who have equally strong views.
There are other challenges. The TROLL — those who load up a fight and leave, or those who present to an argument and fuel it with all kinds of unthinkable cruel disdain, often cloaked in sick humor. These people are often what Psalms and Proverbs call mockers, and they bring out the worst in people. Of course, when we go there, we’ve entered THEIR world.
What do we do in this world where there are so many views we don’t agree with?
What’s the opportunity within this perilous conflict? Seriously.
As we adopt the mind of Christ — which is nothing more complex than humility that sees the preciousness of humanity in everyone — we begin to see people and their situations differently. God’s Spirit does an inside job in us, and it’s so necessary that we embark on this inner work. We, at last, begin to separate from a person their deeds.
There are several things of goodness that occur when we fall into line with Jesus thinking.
1. We realize we’re no better than anyone else, just as we’re no worse than anyone else.
2. Perspective comes in, and we stand with a bit more distance from what upset us. We no longer feel either guilty or stubborn.
3. Revelation occurs and we discover a REAL truth — we have far less power and much less the right to convert people, to make our point, to be the one who makes sense, to be on the right side.
4. A fresh realization occurs, that people with strong opinions, like us when we’re convinced of something, won’t be changed.
5. Concluding this, we realize there’s only one hope for both them AND us.
6. That hope we arrive at is something so very powerful for peace and for change — for us first and foremost, that we’re humbled for a great purpose that is good for us, and it’s good for them, too, that we might truly serve them, an ‘enemy’.
7. Kindness is something everyone is due, because of the divine nature in humanity. This we come to conclude is where God was leading us — THE opportunity in this conflict we could not resolve.
Whether people behave in a way deserving of our kindness or not is irrelevant. We cannot see the gospel power for God for peace until we begin to see how worthy all humanity is.
We’re only capable of assaulting people when we dehumanize them. Abusing people dehumanizes them. Kindness rehumanizes. It rehumanizes them in our eyes and it rehumanizes us in their eyes.
There is only one way to defeat evil.
“… overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework