Are we willing to pause, listen?

Published 2:49 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I watched my social media feeds flood with division on Sunday after the president took to Twitter to voice his opinions on professional athletes’ choices to kneel in solidarity during the National Anthem.

Each side has its own view of what it feels is right or wrong in this situation.

It’s no secret that our county is divided on many issues and has been for some time, and this is only one of many issues on which we are divided.

What got me the most is that people on both sides are shouting to be heard and many are complaining about the state of division our country is currently experiencing.

While people are commenting about it, there aren’t many willing to step outside their comfort zones and bridge the gap to work to understand the other side.

I keep hearing the terms disrespect and respect.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

We all have our own struggles that we have to go through in life. I cannot simply say that what you are going through doesn’t exist just because I haven’t experienced it in my life.

Some of us are more fortunate than others, and others’ cards are just atrocious from the beginning.

It’s apparent that everyone wants change, but sometimes change isn’t exactly what you want.

We are all American collectively. We were blessed to be born in, emigrate to or come here.

From the beginning of our country, our Founding Fathers understood that we needed basic rights.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

That doesn’t mean that only select groups get to have these rights. We all – as Americans – are entitled to them.

Ah, that entitled word. I keep hearing it. Each side uses it to fit the appropriate agenda. Wanting rights that are guaranteed to one as an American does not make them entitled. It does not make them a pot-stirrer, and if you don’t believe your neighbor or your enemy deserves the same basic rights as you, you are part of this country’s problems.

There comes a time when we all must pause and listen to each other.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.”

The state of our country has escalated because there are many who feel they haven’t been treated fairly and issues that have not been addressed for a long period of time. Our issues are ones the country as a whole created.

Certainly we will never all agree completely, but if we would all choose to listen more and work to understand the struggles and concerns of others, we stand a better chance of overcoming our division.

If one side continues to want to mute the other side, we will continue on the path we are currently on.

Kennedy also once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

It literally costs nothing to be kind, compassionate and listen. The more we listen, the more we can understand. The more we extend our hands and hearts to others, the more we can overcome the obstacles and division before us.

And when you don’t know what to say or do, simply love.

Proverbs 10: 12 says, “Hatred stirs up dissention, but love covers all wrongs.”