My wife often says, “Would you rather be right or reconciled?” Truthfully, most of the time I want to be right. It seems ingenuous to give up a point that I know to be true. And so I argue my point, belaboring the relationship until my would-be friend becomes an adversary.
Political discussions seem to go this way more often than not. Both parties point fingers at the other claiming moral and intellectual superiority. To find friends — and not just friends in name but friends who actually love each other — with opposing political views is like asking a lion to befriend a lamb.
But for some miraculous reason, this is not the case at my church. Our family is a part of a diverse Christian church in midtown Kansas City. In our church I have met have conservatives, liberals, anarchists, libertarians and practically every other political view you can name. In most cases, the people holding these political views have submitted themselves first to Christ, the loving self-sacrificial Son of God. It’s in that common submission that we find unity— and unity that transcends our starkly different political views.
I recognize that what is (or can be) true within a church is more difficult to achieve with the diverse array of people we know outside of the church — at our workplace, in our neighborhoods and various forums where we discuss political issues. If we remove ourselves one level further to the realm of nighttime news that we watch in the solitude of our homes, it becomes even easier to stereotype the ‘others’ who don’t agree with us.
We seem to accept that there are many different personality types. While one personality type may clash with another, we don’t seek the homogeny of personalities. How boring would that be? We recognize that each personality shines a different light on the world.
What if we saw political views in the same light as personalities with both the liberal and the conservative having distinct roles in our society, each valuable with skills and views that serve our country in different but necessary ways? In the words of Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.”
Paul is addressing the church, I know. But this political season I am choosing to apply this lesson also to those I disagree with politically. I am choosing to be reconciled rather than to be right. I still hold my convictions. I will share them when asked, but I will not be posting signs in my front yard or bashing the ‘other’ side. The lion will lie down with the lamb, and so I hope for peace in this contentious political season.
Kevin Morris lives in Overland Park with his wife and three children. He is a financial consultant to community development nonprofit and a writer. To submit an As I See It piece, send 675 words to 913 editor Grace Hobson at firstname.lastname@example.org.