Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter. In the wake of another police-involved shooting, our country stands as divided as ever. Our televisions and newsfeeds are filled with accounts of boycotts, protests, and riots. We hear people crying out for justice and others calling for law and order. People are afraid because of the color of their skin. People are afraid to go about daily life. Business owners inspect the charred rubble where their small businesses once stood. Battle lines have been drawn. Tempers have flared. It’s “us” vs “them.”
With every new development, the two opposing sides dig in deeper. With each passing day, we grow more divided. The “United States of America” sounds more like an ironic joke than the name of a proud nation.
In the midst of this division, we look for solutions. We yearn for the truth. We are desperate for answers. But what we receive are empty promises, partisan talking points, and hollow rhetoric. I can tell you with full confidence that the answer is not President Trump. However, I can tell you with just as much confidence that the answer is not Joe Biden. The solution to this division is not Trump, Biden, or even Jorgensen (yes, there are more than two candidates running for president). While these individuals may have plans that they believe will be effective, they themselves are not the answer.
The answer is love. But not mushy, affectionate love. The answer is love for our brothers and sisters that has the power to unite the most dissimilar and radically opposed souls, love that forces us out of our comfort zones and exclusionary world views. It is this type of love that empowered the Good Samaritan to care for his enemy (Luke 10:25-37).
The Samaritans and the Jews bear a striking resemblance to the Democrats and Republicans of today. They were taught from a young age to hate each other, that the other group was evil, that it was “us” vs “them.” But the Samaritan chose to shatter those cultural norms and show love to his enemy, and we can do the same.
Digging in deeper to our respective sides will only make matters worse. Hate will continue to increase, violence will become more widespread, and we will become more divided than ever. But, love that is patient and kind, love that is unselfish and forgiving, love that does not rejoice at wrongdoing but celebrates the truth, love that bears with the failings of others, love that hopes and believes through it all, that type of love has the power to endure and unite (1 Corinthians 13).
So how do we move forward? We love. We love our neighbor. We love our enemy. We love those we agree with and those we can’t stand. We reach across the divide and care for one other. That is how we can more forward.