Compassion in a Divisive Culture

Compassion is vital to restoration of the cultural, religious, and political divides of our day.

I believe compassion is motivated by justice, mercy, and humility.

Compassion is important in every day life regardless our circumstances. However, the tension existing due to this election season’s trash-talking and ‘us vs them’ burns down bridges at a pace I have not personally seen in my lifetime. Election seasons are divisive by nature, but this one’s been brutal.

I have a couple questions for you. Does your social/political/religious enemy come against you out of pure derision of your ideals, or because they have genuine conviction or vulnerability in regards to their ideals? Would you have a better understanding of your ‘enemy’ if you walked a mile in their shoes?

As a Christian, I appeal to the Church to act first. (I am a sola-Scriptura, born again, Jesus-is-the-only-way Christian.)

As a Conservative, I appeal to other conservatives- namely Republicans.

I believe we’ve reached the point where our American individualistic democratic republic has disintegrated to the point of embarrassment. Does this mean we are without hope? Of course not!

However, we are retreading every issue for the sake of drawing the battle lines rather than finding answers, resulting in a broken political process of corruption and exploitation. Meanwhile, we’ve set up verbal guillotines on social media where pseudo-PC mobs from both sides of the aisle destroy lives to their slacktivist whims. States and businesses are suffering while people are losing their livelihoods simply because they have true convictions behind their conservative or liberal ideals.

We the people are fighting the proxy war of politicians and media just because we’d rather lynch mob our enemy than talk about real solutions.

Compassion can change this horrible cycle.

Jesus not only walked a mile in our shoes, He experienced every temptation, trial, and pain encountered by simply being a living human. He taught us how to pray, “Heavenly Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Whenever Jesus acted on this prayer, He was motivated by the Father’s compassion. (Don’t take my word for it. Word-search ‘compassion’ in the Gospels and see for yourself.)

As Christians, we are people of judgment. A lot of people will take issue with this, but being Christ-like means that we must learn how to determine (judge) between right and wrong. The problem is that many of us have been people of judgment only. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Mercy is God’s determining character trait by which He judges.

Compassion is impossible without mercy.

Politically speaking, I am often too conservative for most of my own camp regarding social and domestic issues. It is important for me to understand and remember that I am a political minority even amongst my own. This isn’t the time to go issue by issue to make my point. What I am trying to say is that there are two effective ways to win people to a political ideology. You can either be loud and divisive, which our front-runners and media have chosen. Or you can lead a quiet life of patient and prayerful endurance, while picking your battles and activism carefully and compassionately. Divisiveness has given us our current situation, but the latter option can affect a better kind of change.

It is true that evil prevails when good people do nothing. But evil also prevails when good people do evil to defeat evil. Quiet and prayerful doesn’t mean silent and passive. Do our means justify our ends? Have we forgot that impatiently warring against injustice makes us unjust?

There is a very simple principle here: You cannot correct wrong with wrong.

I have spent the majority of the past 15 years trying to lead people to Jesus and preserve justice within my culture and personal influence. However I want to do so like the prophet Micah, who spoke the words of God saying, “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

I have not always done this well, but my goal is to grow in compassion and actually fight a good fight.

Honestly, I fear we’re headed toward a sociopolitical civil war in our nation that will have nearly irreversible consequences.

Maybe pure, simple, and genuine compassion can avoid this fate.

-J S Marek


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