That’s how it feels to have an opinion these days. It makes me want to scream, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this is supposed to work.”

Are the days where people could actually have different opinions but still remain respectful and actually like the other person, gone? Are those days gone? Well, it’s up to us, all of us, if we want those days to remain.

I love talking politics. I know most people say they don’t, but I do. I love to talk about my opinions and beliefs. I love to debate, but I rarely do it. I’ve found that most people can’t handle talking politics. In the middle of trying to defend their views, they get defensive. They get angry. It’s very rare that two people can have a true discussion of beliefs without one or the other getting mad.

Why? We get offended. Instead of trying to understand where someone else is coming from, offense is taken. When that happens, it’s like a big wall comes down and nothing else matters.

That offense colors EVERYTHING. (Oh, wait…that’s not true? You heard exactly what they said and you know exactly what they meant. Oh, okay. No, no, I’m not disagreeing with you. Oh, now you’re mad at me too? Wait, we’re no longer friends!)

Then, we start putting labels on people. (Because people who think it’s okay to have abortions are murderers. Just like people who think abortion is wrong are really only pro-birth because if they were pro-life they would adopt all the thousands of children in foster care right now.) In the midst of all those labels, the truth gets lost in translation. 

People are more complex than a label suggests. That’s why Donald Trump got a certain percentage of the black, latino, women, and LGBTQ vote. Labeling people can silence people so we don’t get the chance to fully understand different viewpoints. That’s how you end up with a Donald Trump presidency. The voting booth is private and offers the freedom to express viewpoints without fear of being labeled.

Once people have been labeled, they get put in a box and they can never come out of that box! No way! They have to stay there. They’re awful, horrible people who are not allowed to have a good side or good qualities. No, no, no. They are pure evil. They don’t deserve respect or food or water.

I mean, how can I have a reasonable conversation with people who don’t think like me? I mean, everyone thinks like me, right? Just like me, right?! How dare someone not think like me! It’s almost like you’d think they were raised in a different household than me, with different parents, and under a different set of circumstances and upbringings, and it’s weird, but I think that this has made them – GASP – think differently than me.

I thought everyone understood by now, that there is only one way to think. One! Haven’t you been listening to the media? There’s only one way.

And that way is obviously with love. Except, the only problem is everyone says that they love everyone but still says hateful things. Not to mention that if you don’t feel the same way I do about something that automatically means your opinion is fueled by hate or you’re just an idiot (sometimes it’s a toss up), so, I don’t know, it can get confusing at times.

Any who, like I said, I love to talk about politics. But you know what I love more than politics? Jesus. And people. So for me, Jesus trumps politics.

I once heard someone say you can be right or you can have peace. I choose peace. I used to choose to be right. But that’s exhausting! Because we can argue our beliefs till the cows come home and it won’t change anything. It may make us feel good (or not), but does it do any good?

Now, of course, I’m talking about arguing. If you’re able to have a discussion with someone who doesn’t get offended when you see the world differently than them, and tries to understand your point of view so that they leave with a better understanding of how others think and see things, then by all means, do so if you will. After all, the only way things truly change is by people coming to an understanding of the other in an atmosphere of authenticity wrapped in mutual kindness and sprinkled with respect. But don’t argue with people. Don’t. Choose peace. Choose people over politics. Choose to make the world better the best way you know how.

But what do I know? These are just my thoughts. We are still allowed to have those, right?

Sherry White

Sherry White writes about the messiness of life, parenting, and faith at her blog The Messy Christian. She tries to add her own brand of humor and insight into everyday issues we all face, reminding us that even though we find ourselves in countless messes, God’s grace lights the way. She would be thrilled if you follower her on Facebook and Instagram.