There have been a lot of very controversial subjects in the media over past couple of years. Some of the topics have kindled my emotions and have challenged my thinking. However, it has been the discussions in public and social media that have had the most significant impact on me.
In many cases my own beliefs and conclusions on the subjects have been diametrically opposed to the mainstream media and some of my friends' and family members' beliefs and opinions. These differing of opinions presented me with an opportunity to more fully consider and reflect on my own beliefs. Although I embraced the opportunity to talk with my spouse about my thoughts and feelings on the matters, I refrained from openly discussing my opinions on social media. It was not simply that I was uncomfortable that I did not share the same opinions or beliefs that many of my friends shared, but it was the often hostile expressions of their beliefs that closed the door to communication and disheartened me.
The opposing opinions expressed by others were often presented in such a way that I believed if I expressed my differing belief my relationship with them would ultimately be at risk. In some cases there were personal attacks on those who expressed opposing views. I saw friendships dissipate and communication within some families stop as a result. Some of the issues under consideration became so charged with emotion driven responses that people began to questioned eternal truths and their own faith.
I know of the goodness within so many of these individuals and my heart aches for what they have given up. It is disheartening to watch intelligent goodhearted people allow emotion driven responses to overcome rational expression of personal views and opinions.
There will be many more issues that will be hashed out over the media. Am I going to witness more of these emotionally driven discussions that push aside basic rights to have an opinion? Am I too much of an idealist to expect open communication and thoughtful discussion of even the most serious of issues?
From a gospel centered perspective, I know to expect more and more conflict and I know that we each individually have a choice as to how we respond to all the tumultuous noise that will be sounding off around us. We can either contribute to it or follow the Saviors' path and shine the light of peace and forgiveness through the thick smog of confusion, frustration and pain.