So much of what we read and hear surrounding the election of 2020 has been negative; but what if we were to directly combat this negativity? What if we were to shed a little light in the space that seems hopelessly dark? What if we were to truly embody brotherly love?
Brotherly love- a phrase often used but seldom understood. My first thought when I see this phrase is that it must mean a familial type of love- but this is not so. Brotherly love is not isolated to the family unit. If it was, Philadelphia wouldn’t be known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” Brotherly love is a love that is taken to your fellow man, whether you have a relationship with them or not. You can show brotherly love to your best friend, but you can also show brotherly love to the person you pass on the street. It knows no distinction.
What, then, is the importance of showing this kind of love in post-election America?
The answer lies in the repercussions political division and aggression has already established. I conducted a survey of thirty citizens, ranging in age, concerning the concepts of brotherly love and politics, and what I found was that sharing political opinions is not always welcome in our relationships. For instance, when asked how comfortable they were on a scale of one to ten (one being very uncomfortable, ten being very comfortable) with sharing political opinions with their family, forty percent of participants answered with a rating of ten, but they spanned to as little as four. The answers only decrease as the questions move farther and farther from familial relationships. While the majority of participants still answered with a rating of ten when asked if they were comfortable with sharing their political opinions with friends, the percentage drops to just over thirty three percent. Once again, the range of answers reaches down to four. The answers for friends and acquaintances drop to the lowest majority yet, with just over twenty three percent answering with a rating of only six, with the scale reaching as low as two and as high as ten. The division is not isolated, nor is it universal; and it cannot be denied that it exists.
Divisiveness in political conversations is not, however, isolated to relationships. Social media today more than ever has an immense impact on those that view it. As various platforms are created and gain popularity, information can be viewed, shared, and exposed faster than ever before. I could share several examples from my own experience that exemplify how social media is a carrier for political divisiveness, and I’m sure several others can as well; but there are too many stories and too many accounts to fit in one piece. Instead, I look again at the survey.
When asked to rate on a scale of one (being little to none) to ten (being very much) how much brotherly love participants have seen shown on social media, the greatest number yet were found to be in agreement. Over forty percent answered with a rating of one. That means twelve participants saw little to no brotherly love in the political realm of social media. The divisiveness is not just for the few who search for it, but rather it is widespread.
The divisiveness in our nation is immense. We need to show brotherly love in this dark, fallen world. Why? Because we as believers are called to show God to all the world. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” If we know God, we love. When we love, something changes. There’s a reason people are outraged at the sight of injustice and are encouraged by random acts of kindness. Love is known to be good, and we know this is true because it comes from God. If we are to share the light that is Jesus, we must love. No social media post, argument, or election should be enough to stop us from bringing God to a fallen world that so desperately needs Him.