‘‘Tis the season of division. Neighbor against neighbor. Father against son. Even some homes divided.
We place flags and signs on our homes and yards to announce our side. We buy hats and shirts (and masks!) to project our place in the argument.
We’ve got our talking points and strive to be as informed as possible in the conversation. We listen to talk radio heads talk for hours on the subject. We read article after article of click bait links on our social media.
We cannot believe there are actually people on the other side. Seriously, what are they thinking?
That’s right! It’s college football season. What did you think I was talking about?
My introduction came to it during my 4 years in the Carolinas. Gamecocks vs. Clemson… Duke vs. UNC vs. NC State. The bitter rivalries were real. In fact, they may have even enriched the experience.
If only the differences in other places in our world had the power to do so. Instead we are watching as our communities are becoming ever more fractured. And why?
A bible reading recently struck me in a new light. It was written by Paul to a divided community in Rome. They couldn’t agree about what to eat or which day to recognize as the sabbath. Their arguments resulted in camps and feuds. They even threatened to split. His advice (although advice is probably the wrong word) to them is a message we could all stand to hear today.
He said whether you believe it right to eat this or that doesn’t matter, so long as you do it in honor of the Lord. He told them they didn’t have to agree with the specifics as long as they could see that one another were trying their best to be faithful. He said the same thing about the day of the week. In each case the people argued that their way was the honorable way to revere the Lord. Paul said, if that’s the case who cares if you disagree about the day. And he ended, “why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?” (Romans 14).
What I witness in our communities these days is far too much judgement and despising simply because people on the receiving end of that judgement disagree with our beliefs. So the questions then becomes our own: why do we think it’s our job to judge our neighbor? And can we continue to live peaceably with people who think differently than us?
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.