Trump Won, and There's Something We've Got to Do | Teach 4 the Heart

Trump Won, and There’s Something We’ve Got to Do

I don’t think I’ve ever been as saddened and frustrated with my Facebook feed as I’ve been the past week.

The hate, the violence, the fear, the mischaracterizations, the overreactions, the drama….Can we all agree things have been a little crazy here in America?

We’ve been stunned by the venom, the fear, and the mischaracterizations that have been flowing from both sides. We all have someone to blame for the deep divides that run through our nation. Some blame the media or even social media. Others blame Trump or Clinton.

But isn’t that’s a big part of the problem? –  that we are all blaming someone else?

We’re doing a great job of pointing fingers, but how many of us have stopped to ask, “What about ME? What should I do about all this?

American flag

As Christian teachers, we’re in a unique position to make a real difference in our county. Politicians can create laws and enact policies, but you are on the front lines every day, impacting real lives, reaching real hearts,  shaping the views of the next generation.

So what should we do with this great power, this great responsibility? How can we make a difference for good amidst all the chaos?

One thing that has become abundantly clear is that we Americans do not understand each other very well. Trump voters have been called racists and bigots. Hillary supporters have been mocked for their fearful reactions in the wake of the results. And none of this is doing a bit of good.

You see, as Americans we haven’t really been engaging each other on important political or social issues. We either… 1) Get together with people who agree with us and talk about how stupid or unreasonable the other side is (that does no good).    2) Get on our high horse and post something on Facebook that is then misinterpreted and leads to a big, unproductive argument (also does no good)    or 3) Determine to avoid the whole controversy by keeping our little mouths shut (this at least does no harm but it also does no good).

But none of these approaches are working so well. Because whether you’re relieved or terrified at outcome of the election, you can’t help but see how fragmented our nation is becoming. And while some of these divisions are natural, it is not natural or good that we seem to be so vehemently opposed to each other.

Notice I said “each other” not “each other’s views.” We are going to disagree on key social and political issues. This is natural and part of life. But this venomous opposition to each OTHER is not good for society, not good for us, and certainly not good for the next generation.

How are we ever supposed to make progress on any important issue without genuinely engaging each other? How are ever supposed to be salt and light to our society if we keep avoiding anything controversial? How will we ever bridge the gap if we just spout off our own views without genuinely listening to the views of others?

What this country desperately needs (amongst many things) is healthy dialogue.

It won’t be easy. It won’t be comfortable. But we need to do it anyhow.

And that’s also what we must teach our students.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind…

To Create Healthy & Productive Dialogue…

  1. We must love others even when we can’t respect their opinions.

The phrase “please respect my opinion” gets thrown around a lot. I’ve said it, I know. But as I’ve thought about it more this week, I’ve realized that sometimes it really is impossible to respect someone’s opinion. Sometimes we disagree on such a fundamental level that there’s simply no way to respect the opinion itself. But that doesn’t mean we can’t love the person or that we can’t disagree respectfully.

We MUST start with genuine love and caring. And we need to realize that most people we talk to are not horrible monsters who are purposefully causing problems. Most people are genuinely trying to do the right thing. And while that doesn’t mean they’re right, it certainly means that they deserve our love and respect. And if we’re going to create healthy dialogue, we have to start there.

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Too often our response to the other side is “how on earth could you think that!?” instead of “I’d love to hear how you came to that conclusion.”

Do you hear the difference? The first throws up walls and puts people on the defensive while the second opens the door for a genuine dialogue. It’s not threatening, it’s not divisive, and it’s not even that scary of a thing to ask.

When we genuinely listen, genuinely hear someone’s heart on why they hold a certain view or believe a certain way, then and only then can we share our own views with any type of relevance or relatability.

Then and only then can we have a real dialogue where both people walk away having learned something about each other, where both people are challenged to think through the issues in a deeper way and come to a better understanding of what is right and good.

  1. Engage with a win-win philosophy.

Often we view people on the other side (whichever side that is) as the enemy. I mean, they are basically trying to destroy America, right?

Wrong.

They may be misinformed, they may be misguided. But most people aren’t trying to cause problems. Most people are genuinely trying to solve them, genuinely trying to do what’s right.

So if we’re going to dialogue, we must start with the assumption that we actually want the same thing at its core.  We just disagree on how to get there.

Now I’m not talking about compromising our beliefs or singing Kumbaya. I’m talking about a mindset that looks for common values and interests first – and then explores the different views of how to get there.

An example might help explain: Let’s say I’m discussing abortion with someone who is very concerned about “the rights of a woman to control her own body.” Instead of coming at it from a win-lose vantage point of “Abortion is murder. End of story,” what if I took a win-win approach and started from the assumption that we both deeply value human rights. And if we agree on that, I can ask what they think about the rights of an unborn child…and the discussion can go on from there.

See the difference?

  1. Keep the Gospel in the forefront of your mind.

Whether or not the Gospel actually comes up in our conversations, we must remember its real impact in every situation.

For ourselves, we must allow the Gospel to shape all our social and political views. We must always be searching the Scriptures, seeking to closely follow God’s truths.

We must also realize that we have nothing to fear from politicians and their laws. We may face very real dangers, we may even suffer persecution at some point, but it is all in God’s hands and according to His purposes. We may not always understand, but we can trust Him implicitly as we yield our lives to His perfect plan.

Furthermore, we must remember the power of the Gospel to change minds and transform hearts. All of the problems in our society are, at their core, spiritual problems. And while policies may make them slightly better or somewhat worse, only the truth of the Gospel can set men free.

As such, we must not be afraid to take a discussion of a social issue into spiritual grounds. Since our beliefs on social and political issues are often tied tightly to the Gospel, it is often a natural segue and one we must take advantage of.

In all this, we must be careful never to let our zeal for the state of our beloved America jeopardize for an instant the chance to impact a soul for eternity. But when we genuinely love, genuinely listen, and and kindly share our hearts, we have the potential to do much good, to make the Gospel attractive, and to begin to heal the deep divide that in many cases hinders the light of the Gospel from shining brightly in our midst.

And above all, we must pray. Pray for God to work, to send revival, and to fill us with His love and His truth.

So let’s start practicing this open dialogue both in our own lives and in our classrooms. Let’s teach our students how to listen and learn from each other, how to disagree respectfully, how to articulate truth, and how to work together to find real solutions.

We can’t solve all our country’s problems overnight, but by God’s grace we can do something about it. And as we’re led by His Spirit, we can take a step in the right direction.

And for goodness sake, maybe we should all just stay off Facebook…

Linda Kardamis

I believe that when God calls us to teach, He promises the strength & wisdom to do it well. All we need to do is keep learning, growing, and depending on Him. I'm here to provide practical advice and Biblical encouragement so you'll have the confidence and perspective to not only inspire your students but reach their hearts as well.

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Darlene - November 14, 2016

I would really like to know why you don’t believe black people when they say they have personally experienced hateful rhetoric from Trump supporters?

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    Linda Kardamis - November 14, 2016

    I didn’t mean to imply that at all. But on second thought that paragraph probably isn’t helpful so I’m just gonna’ delete it.

    Reply
Anonymous - November 14, 2016

Well Said, Linda. There is a lot of division in our country, It’s sad. However, I always tell my students it’s so important to LOVE and FORGIVE and always assume positive intentions. I played the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, in my classroom. There had been a lot of drama recently and I just had to play the song. I also played the video, some students cry. I wish we would feel united like we all did after 911…how do folks forget so quickly. Anyway, we are blessed to be in this nation regardless of who is president. GOD is in control. I think we just have to rest in that peace and continue to show love and compassion to all because that’s what it’s all about, right? (PS- Oh ya, and I don’t do Facebook….I choose not too. Its dangerous. )

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Julie - November 14, 2016

I was upset by my administrations instructions to treat this as taboo, just like religion. I don’t like religion or politics being called by taboo. If students don’t discuss the issues they won’t ever understand each other. It is imperative that Christians be allowed to express their faith.

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Bernadette Lee - November 15, 2016

Hi guys,
I feel for you. Although it is America’s election. The outcome is far reaching. Let us respond according to God’s word to all situations, and people. You are spot on concerning that. We may not be a political party as the Church of Christ, but we have to promote His principles and support the party which more or less support His principles and allow us to live our faith freely. I don not think most Americans know where they were heading, was it not for this election’s outcome. The alternative is to gruesome to consider, and it would have come to pass, quickly, everything was already in place for that. But it is a spirit. The devil, the prince of the air, has been very busy while the church was fast asleep. let us fight this in the spiritual realm. let us all come together and pray like never before, resist the devil and his evil spirits currently in the streets of America so he can flee. Lets ask God to open up our spiritual eyes to see where the fight really is at. And let us pray for our leaders, government and the peace of Jerusalem like never before. Pray for Donald trump and his family, for the enlightenment of the eyes of his understanding, so he also gets the spiritual part which will make him even more unstoppable knowing what a great God he has on his side. For the sake of America and the rest of the World. His win signifies the continuing of God’s grace dispensation of good stewardship. let us use this grace we didn’t deserve to indeed be those good stewards God wants us to be. I bless God for all of you and for Linda who is really being a good steward. To God be the Glory!

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Kim - November 15, 2016

Thank you for this article Linda. As usual you are concise, get to the heart of the matter and have great practical steps. Ultimately the way to interact with others is sharing truth AND love, always a difficult balance but with God’s help we can! I’ve never been into FB and at this time more than ever I feel that was the wisest decision!

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Phillippa - November 15, 2016

It is often said, when America sneezes, then the Caribbean catches a cold. I guess more of the world does. So somehow we all get interested in American politics. I share your views Linda. Its no good to engage in bashing. God sets up one, and puts down another. Lets just allow God to take control of the outcome. He will do what is best for His children.

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Anonymous - November 16, 2016

Thank you for sharing this…reminded me of things easily forgotten amidst all the high emotion lately…even in my own family!

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