In recent years, it seems that we have been programmed in America. Everything is about “us” versus “them.” “We” want to know the truth. “They” want to keep it from “us.” “We” are always honest, truthful, virtuous, and just plain right. “They” have questionable motives at best. “They” are out to deceive. And “they” are just plain wrong. “Their” reality is skewed and distorted.
Every election, it seems to grow worse. One side wins, and the other side loses. And the side that loses just can’t let it go until the candidate of they identify with wins in the next election. “Us” versus “them.”
People trash talk and even hate people who cheer for their archrivals in sports. They have become more than opponents- they are enemies. “Us” versus “them,” not just on the field for game day, but off the field, every day of the year.
Men versus women, each claiming the strengths and virtues of their own gender. They become competitors rather than partners, complementing each other. Another “us” versus “them” scenario.
Every generation has decried the younger generation. “What’s wrong with young people today?” It’s “us” versus “them.” Just remember (if you can) that somebody asked the same question about your generation many years ago.
Then came the Corona Virus Pandemic. It was “us” versus “them” all over again. The people versus the government. Are they telling us the truth? Is there really a virus? Are “they” just keeping "us" calm until we all die?
Then there are the people who wear masks and rigidly practice social distancing versus those who don’t. The maskers and “social distance police” glare disapprovingly and occasionally confront the non-maskers, who roll their eyes back at them. Guess what? It’s “us” versus “them.”
Black Lives Matter. Another “us” versus “them.” Police are all terrible and evil. Back the blue. Why can’t we just treat every other human being with kindness, patience, and respect? “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” That’s called the Golden Rule. It’s where we were supposed to learn to treat everyone else the way they want to be treated.
We are all on a marathon journey, and none of us have arrived at our destination. Maybe that’s why they call this the human RACE. It’s not about winning for me alone, but we each win big when we lead, encourage, equip, coach, rehabilitate, and enable as many others as we can to the finish line. What will it take for us to realize that the real evil enemies are DIVISION, HATRED, IGNORANCE, and SELFISHNESS?
It goes all the way back to Aesop’s Fables- “United we stand, divided we fall.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:25, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand…”
As the flames of anger burned in 1992, Rodney King got it right. He asked the simple question, “Can’t we all just get along?” He didn’t ask for us to all agree in perfect unison, or to share the exact same viewpoint on every issue, because all of us will never see things exactly the same way. That’s ok- it’s part of the grand adventure we call “the human experience.” But why do we have to point fingers, be suspicious, incite hatred, foster mistrust, and divide ourselves into groups of bitter rivals from other people with whom we share life on this planet? Why not build bridges of respect, kindness, and understanding with our neighbors?
It has been said that there are two types of people in the world: group one is those who divide everyone else into two types and group two is comprised of those who don’t. I cordially invite you to join me in group two. But if you choose not to join me, I promise I won’t be against you.