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We Need To Bridge the Divide

By Jeff Borders

There have been so many things written about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings lately. I could write about the need to listen to victims and investigate allegations, the importance of due process, or a political circus that would make P.T. Barnum jealous. But my voice would just be another in an already overwhelming cacophony of sound, sounding something similar to Charlie Brown’s teacher, and I would more than likely find my words being ripped apart by whichever side disagrees with my opinion.

That’s why I want to try to look at this from a spiritual lens, rather than from an earthly lens.

It is quite obvious to anyone watching not only the hearing, but the news coverage surrounding it, or the endless tweets, snaps and Facebook posts, that there is a boiling anger gripping this country. I have written in the past about our inability to disagree with each other properly or communicate effectively. I have touched upon our addiction to outrage. But I think those pieces have only scratched the surface of the festering and seething anger which is overtaking our country.

Whether it’s the doxxing of personal contact information for victims or policy makers, cornering and shouting down people we disagree with, or calling for violence against people, you can’t see these things, and not have even the tiniest thought that something is seriously wrong in the hearts of America.

Satan, the father of misery, doesn’t even have to try to lead us away from each other, we are doing it ourselves. We’ve let the fire of anger grow and spread, until we have lost all control. Speaking on fire, let me share what I know to be true from my time as a firefighter. Fire, under the right conditions and if left unchecked, will grow in intensity, and spread rapidly, consuming whatever is in its way. And after the fire has consumed anything that can burn, what we are left with are charred landscapes, destroyed homes, and sometimes tragically a loss of life.

Anger, just like fire, if left unchecked and fed constantly, can and will have devastating effects in our lives. You can’t let anger take the wheel. When anger drives the car of society, nobody wins.

Often the heat of emotion does little to help us discern truth and error, or bring us true understanding. Putting away our anger almost seems impossible at times, due to our very real emotional connection to a subject, our actual or perceived wrongs, or our misunderstanding of another person’s point of view or personal experience. So how do we move past our anger and emotionally charged arguments, to a place where we can start healing ourselves and the divide between us?

In a recent talk I read by Neill F. Marriott, she addressed this very subject in the following short story. “One memorable night a relative and I disagreed about a political issue. She briskly and thoroughly took my comments apart, proving me wrong within earshot of family members. I felt foolish and uninformed—and I probably was. That night as I knelt to pray, I hurried to explain to Heavenly Father how difficult this relative was! I talked on and on. Perhaps I paused in my complaining and the Holy Ghost had a chance to get my attention, because, to my surprise, I next heard myself say, “You probably want me to love her.” Love her? I prayed on, saying something like, “How can I love her? I don’t think I even like her. My heart is hard; my feelings are hurt. I can’t do it.”

Then, surely with help from the Spirit, I had a new thought as I said, “But You love her, Heavenly Father. Would You give me a portion of Your love for her—so I can love her too?” My hard feelings softened, my heart started to change, and I began to see this person differently. I began to sense her real value that Heavenly Father saw. Over time the gap between us sweetly closed. But even if she had not accepted my changed heart, I had learned that Heavenly Father will help us love even those we may think are unlovable, if we plead for His aid. The Savior’s Atonement is a conduit for the constant flow of charity from our Father in Heaven. We must choose to abide in this love in order to have charity for all.”

And there is the simple truth. When we start to look at others as God sees them, our lens begins to change, from a mortal one to a spiritual one. With a little work and humility on our parts, and the application of God’s love, our hearts can be softened to one another and the fires of anger can begin to be quelled. That doesn’t mean we will always agree on everything. It just means that we will start looking at the true value of the other person and realize we are not enemies with those whom we disagree agree with.

If we are truly trying to build a better society for our children, than we need to set down the metaphorical molotav cocktails of our anger, and start looking at each other as brothers and sisters,  and children of God. Then, and only then, will we move forward as a people, hand in hand, to breach the divide that is quickly widening before us.

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