In 2023, let “Okay, thanks” be your go-to response.
We’re not arguing.
We’re not fighting.
We’re not even debating with folks this year if discernment has shown it would be a futile effort.
By and large, the desire to function with peace as the goal has been lost. We want to be right and operate liberally with that free will God has provided. Who are they to tell me what I can / cannot do? We don’t want to be inconvenienced. Our needs, wants, and desires take priority over all else and everyone else. It’s all a matter of pride. Proverbs 16:18 makes it clear that destruction comes after pride. A quick glance around us should verify that to be true. Pride (love of self-first) is wreaking havoc in our lives, and we’ve embraced it. For example, family members have fallen out over the most minute matter as each person chose to stand their ground on what they believe to be right instead of focusing on love and peace.
Social media and daily conversations glorify division. We boast about how strong our cut-off game is, etc. I have been guilty myself. I do get it, to a point. Anything toxic and unhealthy should not have access to our environment. However, so much of the division seems to boil down to simple differences in personality, faith, politics, profession, and more. A healthy alternative to division is respectful disagreement.
“Okay, thanks for sharing your point of view.”
“Okay, thanks. I didn’t realize that.”
“Okay, thanks for the insight.”
Our differences were meant to make us unique individuals, not enemies.
Personal interactions have been relegated down to various degrees of tolerance more so than genuine love for the next human being. With that said, here are a few verses from the NIV translation of the Bible to consider:
John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Matthew 22:39 …love your neighbor as yourself.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
I pray these passages of scripture encourage you to speak love, walk in love, and be a catalyst for peace, instead of following the world’s example of perpetuating separation. The last one is my favorite. I find myself recalling it often. It has become a barometer for me. Truth be told, I miss the mark from time to time; probably more times than I care to admit. Without a doubt, it is challenging to live in unity when the desires of self have become the highest priority for many. Setting a goal to remain aware of our actions and bring them back in line with the Word of God when needed can help get us to a place of peace.
In 2023, can we work towards dwelling together in unity? Can we? Please.