The Us vs Them mindset insists there is “another side” who is your enemy.
And since you’re on the “right side” it’s your job to defeat them. To bolster your ideas and opinions and do everything you can to convince people you’re right and they’re wrong.
The problem is that “the other side” believes the exact same thing!
So then it just becomes a never ending tug of war.
The Us vs Them mindset is all around us. But there are two areas of society where it’s most prevalent: religion and politics.
And it’s unfortunate because those two areas are also two of the greatest stabilizers in a nation. Regardless if you’re “into” either one, the fact remains that these two realms have tremendous influence over our culture.
So instead of ignoring them or doing your best to shield yourself from the “nastiness” of each one, what if you chose to think differently about them?
What if instead of being a parrot who repeats what your “side” says to be true you decided to start thinking for yourself?
What if you took a stand and refused to adopt the “us vs them” mindset?
If you’re a Christian that may mean parting ways with the “church vs the world” mindset. Instead of shunning the unbeliever what if you embraced him? And instead of criticizing that faults of your city, nation or world what if you decided to get off the couch and actually do something to help?
If you’re an atheist this could mean that you stop trying to make religious people feel stupid for what they believe. What if you could listen to someone tell you how God changed their life without getting resentful at them in your heart for believing what you think is a farce?
If you’re a conservative this could involve surrendering your “I hate liberals” card. It may even result in the revelation that neither Obama or Hillary are the antichrist (gasp!). And who knows, you may actually like that “flaming liberal” and realize you have more in common then you thought.
If you’re a liberal this could mean you stop labeling every idea you disagree with a concoction of the “far right.” It could mean you stop assuming everyone who voted for Trump is a racist pig who wants to burn down the rainforest.
What if instead of putting people in boxes based on who they voted for you got to know the person first?
I understand this is scary ground to tread on. It’s easier to huddle around groups of people who we agree with. To rant about how “they” are crazy for what “they” believe and reassure ourselves that we are right.
But if the best we can do is criticize then we miss out on the opportunity to actually do something and make a difference.
I don’t know about you but I’m done with the water cooler talk that leads nowhere and changes nothing. Sooner or later each of us have to make a decision: will we get in the game or will continue to be critics in the stands.