“Us” vs. “Them”…

To the amazement of many who know me, I have stayed out of the political fray throughout the entire 2016 Presidential election cycle, with the exception of writing this post here:

Thoughts on Being Right and Speaking Life

I’m currently working on a post-election follow-up piece, but wanted to share this with you.

This was posted by a well-known Strength Coach this morning (I will not reveal his name, since he is a respected Coach in the Fitness Profession and his post was intended to inspire thought without negative intent):

“Fear & hate are poor motivators in sport & even poorer motivators in life. Sadly good enough to get someone elected president.”

My response:

“Coach, with due respect, I’ll say to you the same thing I shared with reference to Mr. Kaepernick and his protest.

Go out in the community and change things. Use your Strength To Serve in your community and change the things you think need to be changed, one heart, one mind and one person at a time.

We rely so heavily on “them” to make positive, lasting change that we grant them permission to be, do and take anything they choose to in order to please a large enough portion of us to get elected and re-elected. To date, that approach has largely made things worse, not better, in virtually every area of society impacted by governance.

In Kaepernick’s case, he sits in his mansion with his $10 million dollar paychecks and wants everyone else to end “oppression.” We can just as easily pass the responsibility and permission to “them” to right wrongs which might be better soothed and repaired with direct action from all of “us.”

I have a lot of respect for you as a coach and have followed you for years. You’ve shaped some of what I do as a coach and I thank you for that.

However, I would caution you regarding the assignment of assumption regarding what is in someone’s heart. While you may be right, actions will always speak louder than rhetoric.

Time will tell if this choice creates a rising tide which lifts all boats or a tempest that sinks the ship of our nation…in the meantime, we the people can make change that matters if we are willing to step beyond ourselves and reach others.”

As someone pointed out to me, Mr. Kaepernick has a history of donating to charities. While that’s great and I applaud that, the primary recipients are a charity for children with heart disease, and another that provides backpacks to children in urban areas. Colin has a bully pulpit from which to influence the oppression he’s protesting, and I think he could do so quite well.

More important, Kaepernick has made himself a symbol of a larger issue, that being the number of athletes, artists, actors and even (especially) politicians who look to someone else to change the problems they observe in the world.

We all tend to be very good at observing the world, applying our own biases and then judging “them” for not changing the things we think are wrong. But as humans, we’re flawed, yet we are fiercely and wonderfully made!

God has placed us here to make an impact, leave a legacy and, most important, to serve one another. That means understanding that our opinions, agendas and biases are less important than leaving the world a better place and reaching a hand out to lift others up.

By assuming the worst in people, by assigning meaning to statements made by them that reflect anger, disappointment and fear and by reflexively dismissing someone’s value and ability to leave a positive impact on the world because they’re “not like us” serves nobody except the enemy.

When we assume the worst in others, we actually poison our own souls. And the enemy loves that.

What enemy? The enemy of love. The enemy of peace. The enemy of prosperity. The enemy of our success as a nation, as a society and as a community.

We can’t rise up and rise above when we’re serving the enemy…

So I ask…

What have YOU assumed about what’s in the hearts of others?

What change do YOU want to see in the world?

What are YOU willing to do about it?

In what way will YOU leave the world, and those with whom YOU share it, better than when YOU came in to it?

What will YOU do to honor the strength, love and wisdom placed in YOU by your Creator?

And…when will YOU start?

Proverbs 18:2

Matthew 23:24

Luke 22:26


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