Another trip around the sun just completed. Yep, a full year has gone by and I celebrated another birthday this month.
Sixty-some years on this planet and I can honestly say, I’ve never before in my lifetime seen so much animosity exhibited between human beings as I have in the last few years.
All the name-calling. All the politically-charged posts on social media. All the mean-spiritedness because someone doesn’t agree with you. All the disrespect for other’s opinions. All the anger. All the rage. All the crude vulgarity. It literally makes my stomach churn.
And you know what else it does? It makes me wonder how far it’s all going to go. How horrible of a world will my grandchildren have to live in if this hatred continues?
Because call it what it is. Hatred. On both sides of the issues.
I logged in to my personal Facebook page on my birthday and my newsfeed was assaulted with sites that seemed to provoke divisiveness. Blasting comments arguing over issues that they do/don’t agree with. It left a really bad taste in my mouth on a day I just wanted to sit back and enjoy.
The smiles and good will my FB friends meant for my birthday in the form of kind wishes and greetings posted on my wall seemed overshadowed by all the other ugliness I saw. Each time I scrolled down my newsfeed more hostility continued to affront me causing me to cringe, log out, and not return, determined to not let it ruin my birthday.
But I must get something off my chest. I’m sorry, I just cannot believe that social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or whatever, is the proper place to air all your fury and wrath against this or that. And I certainly cannot see where it does any good in changing folks’ opinions. It just seems like arguing vehemently just for the sake of arguing. And really, who needs that? Doesn’t it raise your blood pressure to an unhealthy high?
Foremost, I want to ask those who do so, do you really, truly believe spouting off on social media and attacking others’ for their beliefs and opinions is going to change their minds? Seriously?
I’ve said it before and I will continue to repeat it. A verse from my Bible, spoken by Jesus, tells me that a house divided cannot stand.
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” ~ Mark 3:24-25 New International Version (NIV)
In this same month, June, back in 1858, Abraham Lincoln used part of this scripture in his speech upon receiving the Republican candidacy for the United States Senate, a seat he lost to Stephen Douglas. At the time, according to an online article about our 16th President, even Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, considered Lincoln as morally courageous but politically inappropriate in using the reference in his speech.
Lincoln is quoted as saying this about the reference: “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”
A house divided cannot stand. …that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times. Maybe we need to take heed to those words and apply them today.
Years later, Herndon said Lincoln’s speech “did awaken the people, and despite Lincoln’s defeat, he thought the speech made him President.”
As we all know, at the time Lincoln delivered that speech, our country was headed for a Civil War, which did occur during Lincoln’s presidency. Civil War. Divisiveness against each other in our own land. Brother fighting against brother. Hatred against one another because of opinions and beliefs. Is history repeating itself? It surely seems so on social media and on the news.
It saddens me to see a great divide in this nation. I know we are not a kingdom, but we are a country called the United States of America, and all of this in-fighting causes me to think it will be our demise.
But you know what? I realize I can’t have my cake and eat it too. So, I dismissed the ugliness for my birthday at least, and tried to enjoy the rest of my day, which I did.
However, I’ve made a kind of birthday resolution that I will not be a part of this. I’ll continue to stay out of the social media frenzy and fray. I still have my strong beliefs and opinions and I willingly share them with those who want to have civil conversations about that, but I will not plaster my disagreement with others via Facebook or here in my blog.
Why? Not because I live in a rose-colored world where it’s all flowers, rainbows, and lollipops. Remember, I’ve been on this earth for more than 60 years now and I am a realist.
I know that what I say can be twisted and misinterpreted and cause dissension and strife. I know that what I say may cause others to react defensively and stir up anger.
Because as a believer in Christ, I do not want to cause other people to stumble.
And because my actions and words are models for my grandchildren, and I do not want to teach them to hate those who don’t sit on the same side of the playground as they do.
“Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.” ~ William Wordsworth