An election year has a way of bringing about such intense emotions that divide and cause so much strain between friends and family who happen to be political polar opposites. No matter what party a person identifies with, the consequences of a political remark has a risk of affecting someones feelings, raising hackles and blood pressure, and possibly destroying relationships, all because words can either heal or destroy. Recently, I made what I thought was a subtle and entirely harmless comment over social media regarding my favorable impression of the most recent convention. It was not meant to start a heated debate, but it raised the hackles of a longtime friend, but we are political polar opposites. She quickly responded to my comment with an attack against my viewpoint and then proceeded to unfriend me. Her words were hurtful, but what hurt even more was that she felt that she couldn't be my friend anymore due to our political divide!
When the 2016 election comes to an end, most good friendships have a way of surviving the election so they can move on with a return to normalcy and continued friendship. Anyway, having the same politic view shouldn't be a requirement for friendship. Try to imagine a world of no diversity; one view. I think you will agree that the world would be incredibly boring.
So what does the above story have to do with character?
Character is the quality of our nature that defines each of us. It can be an unhealthy nature that is self-absorbed or the sweet fruit of the inner spirit that is visible to all. Character is what people are aware of when they listen to you and when they see your behavior in action. It is also one of the most important things you have to guide you throughout life. It will be your character that people will talk about after you have passed. So, how are you investing in your character? Your character requires tending so it can flourish much like the flowers in your garden. Do people see the person you truly want to be by your actions and words or do they see someone they don't like very much? Is your character reflected in how you treat others? Are you using your words as a weapon or as a healing force? Remember that when you pass away, Jesus will either say, “welcome; job well done” or “I never knew you; be gone!” It is up to you to decide on who you want to be.
True character is revealed in the following biblical verses from the book of Galatians;
Galatians 5: 19-21 "The acts of the sinful [unhealthy] nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Having the same political view is not a requirement for a friendship to succeed. However, sometimes when one person is unable to accept the other’s political viewpoint, the differences can topple a fragile relationship. And yet, many people manage to keep their political views and their friendships intact. I know of two people that are not hindered by their political differences, because they recognize that their connection is more important than an election. Those with successful friendships have simply learned the art of agreeing to disagree and avoid the topic that is volatile. Another valuable reason for their success is that they treat each other with respect so that their friendship is not destroyed by their differences.
Until next time,
Kathy Goodhew, author
I sense a need for something greater than self. So, I am led by Christ's love to be an encourager as I share about His faithfulness and grace.