Here in America, July is the month we celebrate the birth of our country, our freedom and our republic. But as that wise saying goes, “Freedom is not free.” There is a cost to everything in life, and freedom is no exception.
What happens when your freedom to express your opinion conflicts with a dear friend or family member’s freedom to express theirs? Do you listen to each other, giving each other respect and room to be who they are, or do you condemn them, shut them out, tell them they are wrong?
Right now in our country we have such a divisive attitude occurring. Regardless of your viewpoint, it seems to me that most people are troubled by this divide. The positive thing is that we do live in a country and era in which we can technically express our beliefs. However, practically speaking, it is becoming increasingly difficult for not only our politicians to disagree, but the public, families and friends as well.
The hard thing is that I’ve heard of friends or family who have allowed their beliefs to divide and separate them. Last night I heard about a daughter and her Mother who no longer speak because the Mom is a liberal and the daughter is not. Really?
Is this really enough to split up families? I know people can say and do things they later regret in the heat of the moment, but to allow these things to break up long-standing and deep relationships is tragic.
Before this happens to you, or if it has happened to you, do all you can to prevent this or repair it. Life is so darn short, and we don’t need to spend it justifying our position on something or putting political beliefs before our bond with another.
Here are a few quotes I found that I believe will help. Meanwhile, celebrate your independence and your right to believe and express yourselves (hopefully with tact and courtesy!), and remember that freedom does not mean you can say and do anything you want, but that wisdom and intuition should be employed to guide you on when you make a stand and when you don’t. The “Golden Rule” applies here when you have respect for others and their beliefs just as you expect and demand respect from others.
Our church has a great motto: “There is more that binds us together than separates us.” And that is the truth of it and what we can focus on when we are with our loved ones and disagree on issues: there is more to bind us together in relationship than separates us.
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
—Roy T. Bennett