Curing the great divide
I have been watching the news a little bit more lately, with the 2020 election coming up. I have noticed a couple of things that I think are important that need to be addressed.
I have noticed that both sides of the aisle are passionate, which is a good thing — we need people to be passionate about our country — but I am afraid that that passion has gone beyond passionate for our country. When I turn on the TV and watch the news, I see both sides name calling, and I see kids on college campuses being punched in the face because of their particular political view.
All of this has caused me to step back and think. A story that Jesus told one day about how we are to love our neighbor. I am sure you remember the story in Luke 10:30-37 where Jesus tells of a Jewish man traveling and a band of robbers attacked him and took all his belongings and beat him and left him for dead.
Then by chance a priest came alone and saw the man but would not help him and in fact crossed to the other side of the street. Then a temple assistant came upon the man, and he, too, crossed on the other side of the street, not wanting to even get close to this man.
But then a Samaritan saw the Jewish man on the ground, bleeding and beaten. The Samaritan, who hated the Jews, stopped and took care of the man, taking him to a place where he could heal and be cared for.
When I first read the story of the Good Samaritan, I thought this could never happen in a country as great as the United States, but I am afraid that I am very wrong now.
I recently read an article by The Atlantic, "The Least Politically Prejudiced Place in America" (March 4, 2019), and the statistics that they used disturbed me greatly. The article stated that in a survey from 2017 that the divide in our country between right and left has become so wide and deep that 15 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats believe that we would be "better off if large numbers of the opposing partisans in the public today 'just died.'"
When we look at the story of Jesus and the Good Samaritan, it makes me think, are we being good neighbors?
When I look around and see how divided our country is over the right and left of government and differing personal and political views, I don't believe that we are being good neighbors. Jesus says in Mark 3 that a house divided cannot stand. I believe that our country is divided, and that division is getting worse.
So, what do we do about it?
Well, just before this story that Jesus told, He says to "love God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself."
As Christians, we need to set the pace, set the example of loving people. A practical way of doing that is pray for your neighbor. Who is your neighbor? Look around, people at the store, teachers at the school, people in our government representing us; they are all our neighbors. People who are a different race than us or a different social class than us; these are our neighbors.
We need to be praying for them on a daily basis. That is the only thing that is going to heal this division in our country. Jesus is the only way to cure this great divide.
Tollie Rogers is the pastor at Ascent Christian Church. He can be reached at 541-362-1025.