Hi. I’m a self-diagnosed chronic apologizer, but this time I actually mean it.
Today, I’m labeling myself a chronic apologizer. My symptoms are apologizing for everything, doubting everything I do and not really knowing what “sorry” means. However, I have an issue that I really need to ask your forgiveness for. This isn’t a flimsy apology—it’s true.
The problem I’m apologizing for goes much deeper than my day-to-day chronic apologies. This isn’t a “Did I forget that yesterday was your best friend’s mother’s aunt’s half-birthday? My bad. Can I have her phone number please? I’ll call her right away.” No. I have a full-out, actual apology you need to read.
These past weeks, I started realizing that I need to sincerely apologize to my neighbors and friends for something that I have done. I’m sorry to everyone—Republicans, Democrats, Independents and people who don’t know where they stand.
I haven’t been a good U.S. citizen, and I haven’t been a good Christian as I consider my stances on politics. I’m stand-offish, make assumptions and roll my eyes (a lot, especially when people aren’t watching me). I never want to hear the opposing side. Considering that the 2020 presidential election is a year away, the more discussion I hear about politics, the more separated I feel from the other side.
I am not a fan of the way President Donald Trump uses his words and power to accomplish his tasks. Unfortunately, I let these disagreements taint my conversations with everyone around me. And, it’s not only affecting me. A study conducted by Lifeway Research found that 26% of Christians believe “insulting personal remarks made by political leaders who share their ideology toward opponents are justified.” That’s a lot of Christians thinking it’s okay for politicians to toss around insults on the political stage.
I think this idea of justified insults has trickled down to me. When I hear someone say something that I even slightly disagree with, I sometimes shut down before they can explain themselves. Or, in my mind, I call them uneducated, ignorant or rude. Yes, these are harsh judgements, but it’s why I need to apologize. To the people who have tried to talk to me, but I shut them down because I didn’t want to hear their point of view: I’m sorry.
Even if you aren’t as aggressive as I am when it comes to talking about political issues with your friends and family, please consider stepping back and deciding how you approach conversations. Don’t be like me and shut people out. When you have conversations, don’t let them get heated. Yes, you are going to disagree, but, at the end of the day, do not hate them for their views.
At JBU, I want to inspire a posture of listening and compassion. No one should feel out of place on this campus because they have a minority view. Please, even if you have a different political view than me, I want to hear it. Christianity is done in groups, and we should strive to create an inviting political climate here at JBU. We don’t really have great models for this on TV or social media, but if we all create positive dialogue, then maybe we’ll have a better election season.