Over the past several years, we’ve watched people become divided about so many issues. Colin Kaepernick and his stance on kneeling during the national anthem, the Black Lives Matter movement, vaccines, education, masks, in-person church vs. online, politics, conspiracy theories, etc. People love to post or repost stances/stories on things. Celebrities weigh in on social issues. Pastors weigh in on political issues. Kids post tik tok videos on issues.
Most people do not even know they are victims of something called confirmation bias. This is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values (wikipedia actually had a great definition in this case…) It is why you feel your phone is listening to you-it is. Social media has used the “like” “subscribe” “recommended for you”, or even how long you look at certain pictures/posts to then send you more of what you were looking at or show interest in. Therefore, if all you ever see if information based off of one opinion or view, people tend to get very critical of those who don’t follow what they follow!
The tensions that result from all of these issues come up in counseling daily. Families members struggle to speak to one another over political differences. Teammates struggle to get along over social issues. Kids are fearful that their friends of a different race will no longer like them. Sadly, the answer is not to stay quiet. Nor is the answer to just scream, yell at others, or post your point of view. I truly believe the answer is to listen, love one another, and to be considerate.
If we want to our world to be more united, we must consider doing the following:
1-Listen to and learn from the views of others.
2-If you are online or on social media, follow people of different viewpoints not just the same as you believe to prevent confirmation bias.
3-Don’t let differing viewpoints stand in the way of relationships! Jesus was in relationship with many people who didn’t believe the way he believed…
4-Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about different viewpoints. Share why you believe what you do, but teach them to use critical thinking skills and how to think for themselves. If you don’t, you may wonder why they went to college one day and come home believing something completely opposite of what you taught them the next. Give them a heads up…talk about it all beforehand not in a fearful way.
5-Remember, the only TRUTH is scripture (the Bible) period. The internet, FB, news, and opinions of others are valid outside of scripture. Spend more time in the word that on any other platform, etc.
6-Consider what the word would be like is Christ followers would try to go love the creator of the “Satan shoes” instead of just posting terrible things about him. Consider would our nation look like if Christ followers went and truly acted like they cared to know why Colin K was kneeling even if they disagree? What is Christ followers sought out the leaders of the BLM movement and got to know the creators and tried to love them?
When is the last time you spoke to someone who believes differently from you and tried to lovingly listen?
We cannot become a people who stop loving those who disagree or we will not be like Jesus, period. Relationship changes people, negativity and division do not.
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Listen, learn, and share this episode with everyone you know! There is a message in it for everyone regarding human trafficking. It is not scary, but encourages us all to make positive steps to make a difference in our communities.
Season 2, Episode 1 is here! Check out this amazing message on how to overcome along with an interview from a friend who survived a shark attack…
As I reflect back on 2020, and more people seemingly needed counseling than ever before in my entire career, I thought it may be useful for you to know some of the techniques given most often in 2020.
1-Turn off the news. The main goal of the modern day news is ultimately to obtain viewers. Journalism today often uses sensationalism, defined as the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement. Therefore, it is not helpful. If you want to be informed as I do, try something such as a positive news podcast I found a year or so ago called, The World and Everything in it. Or try getting headlines only sent to your email once a day. Do not endlessly watch Fox News, CNN, etc. Try turning it off for a week, and let me know how you feel…
2-Focus on what you can control. 2020 tried to teach us that we are not in control, however, most people in living this out tried even harder to control which frequently resulted in more stress and anxiety. You can’t always control getting a virus (masks, gloves, hazmats, etc included). However, you can be intentional with your family and friends (i.e. play games together, call one another, send care packages, etc). You can help others (volunteer for a local food bank, organize a food drive). You can try to be healthy by eating healthy and exercising. You can turn off the news. You can seek God by reading his word daily and spending time with him, the one who actually is in control….
3-Practice deep breathing. Take many deep breaths daily. Use breathing apps or exercises if needed. Just try not to breath in the Covid…
4-When you feel in a panic, slow down your racing thoughts by focusing on your five senses. What do you see right now? What do you smell? feel? taste? hear? Don’t call the person who will get you even more hyped up than you are….
5-When changes happen in our world, find a new routine to help you find order in the chaos. If you work from home now, create a schedule for your work day that includes a lunch break, stretch breaks, and a stop time.
6-Don’t judge others who aren’t reacting the way you are to the changes. Be respectful and kind and follow your convictions without judging others. Judging is God’s job and when we try to do it we feel horrible. So stop.
7-Be social however you can be during a pandemic. If you feel comfortable being with family and friends, spend time in person with them. If you can’t, drive by their homes and spend time 6 feet apart, have zoom or FaceTime parties, etc. We need people no matter how much they get on our nerves at times.
8-Realize grow happens out of your comfort zone and practice doing things that are always comfortable. Try a new hobby. Talk to that neighbor you’ve never met. Pray for your enemy. Exercise. Become friends with someone who doesn’t look like you. Stop making excuses for why you can’t or won’t do something.
9-Make the best of all situations by fostering an attitude of gratitude. List five things you are grateful for each day. Consider the benefits of online learning. Remember the times you wished you worked from home. When you go back to the office, be thankful that you don’t also have to do laundry during your lunch break!
10-Pray, in all things at all times. Make prayer a part of your daily routine, not just once a day or at meals. Talk to God about everything. Ask him what you should be learning during this time. Inquire about why you were created to live during this specific time in history.
Praying you use the hindsight 20/20 view of 2020 for good this year. Make it a happy new year!
PS.. I’m praying you all cultivate God’s earth with love and grace as you realize you are made in his image to reflect his goodness! Genesis 1…
Praying my dad still talks to me after this one…