Disturbing things have come to light in 2022. Of course, in polarized America, how you think about things like media bias, gender, Twitter censorship, political corruption, January 6, cryptocurrency, financial scandal, and a host of other things often depends on your affiliations, right? We can hardly agree on anything anymore. Well, I’ve thought of something we can agree on that would make our community better in 2023: let’s resolve to minimize the role of divisive people in our lives.
Now, I am not talking about people with whom you disagree. That’s different. A divisive person one who wants to divide people. A divisive person is one who wants to argue and argue and argue until the other person either responds emotionally or walks away in disgust. You cannot argue with a divisive person because they are not open to even consider your side of the debate. It’s the person who refuses to concede their point even when all the available evidence has been gathered and presented and they are shown to be 100% in the wrong, and they don’t care. That is a divisive person.
I once heard a man tell me a story about his wife and that she was very upset with him. I don’t remember all the details exactly, but this is close enough so you’ll get the idea. I asked the man why his wife was so angry. He said the night previous she had a dream, and in the dream, he cheated on her, harmed the children, took all the money, and left the family behind. He then took up with another woman … in the dream. When she awoke in the morning, she made it very clear that she was upset with her husband. He explained that he would never think of doing such things, and that it was just a dream, and that she should not be angry with him. Her response went along these lines, “Well, you must be doing something bad if I had such a dream about you!” Against all logic and reason … she concluded that he was wrong. And, to be fair, husbands do the same types of things to their wives as well.
Real-world examples of this abound in our time. In September of 2021, some photos revealed what appeared to be U.S. Border Patrol agents whipping Haitian immigrants coming across the southern border. This created a firestorm as anyone can imagine. Human beings are created in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect. Whipping people is a dehumanizing act. U.S. Customs and Border Protect concluded a full investigation in the summer of 2022 saying they could find no evidence that the event even happened. Even so, the reporting on this event left such a mark on the minds of many that people will routinely refer back to Border Patrol agents whipping immigrants despite the evidence to the contrary.
This is just one example. I think we all know there are many examples used by divisive people on both sides to separate us and to get us fighting with each other. If you spot someone engaging in such behavior, call it out in the kindest way possible (privately is best). Perhaps they are just uninformed. What if they see the evidence and keep arguing their side knowing it’s wrong? That’s a divisive person! The best advice that I can give you regarding a divisive person is simply not to listen to them anymore. This is similar to how Paul advised Titus to manage the early church; “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11) I would hope this is a New Year’s resolution we can all agree on.