Talked To Your Neighbors Lately?
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” – Ephesians 4:25
The presidential election of 2016 was another stark reminder of how deeply divided we are as a country. People who live in the same state, the same county, the same city, and sometimes even the same street are at polar opposite ends regarding many of the critical issues that face our nation.
Yet, an open, honest conversation with our political opposites might reveal that no matter the political affiliation, the overwhelming majority of us want many of the same things: Safety for our families . . . good education for children . . . the opportunity to work and make a livable wage . . . a clean environment . . . a government we can trust.
With all the common concerns that unite us, why do we as a country continue to find ourselves separated and alienated from the very people we ride with on mass transit . . . or shop with at the mall . . . or see at the post office . . . or sit with in the waiting room at the hospital . . . or whose children share a classroom with our own?
Could it be because instead of talking truthfully to one another about our common concerns, our common fears and our common prejudices, we have spoken to one another in sound bites, political slogans and media-hyped stereotypes?
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus makes it clear that our neighbor is not necessarily the one who lives closest to us, but the one who travels a common road with us.
We could make the road better for all of us if we began an honest dialogue with a fellow traveler whose perspectives don’t necessarily resemble our own. We could share a lot . . . learn a lot . . . and better understand our common lot.
God, give me opportunity to open up an honest dialogue with those who are different from me. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.