RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

Trust and understand each other

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Differences abound in human relationships, and especially differences in politics and religion. Parents have a God-given responsibility to bring their children up in such a manner as to fear God and respect those who are in authority. Today, we are literally witnessing a generation of young people who have lost respect for many political leaders, and rightly so.

Differences of opinions between parents and kids over political issues can actually be good, and don’t necessarily need to be resolved, but rather simply need to be understood.

Kids’ agreement with their parents’ political choices should be based upon the parents teaching them to think for themselves.

Trust must be foundation that the relationship between parents and children rests upon. If a child is forced by his parents to support their candidate, or even the best candidate, then the parents have violated the sacred trust of allowing their child to choose for themselves.

— Bob McClain, Living By Faith Ministry, Oxford

See the humanity in each other

Ideally, politics would have the flavor of intramural sports — folks pulling for our mutually loved nation, albeit with different preferred outcomes. However, political differences have become increasingly polarized and may even include family rifts.

There are peer influences on generations and experiences that change worldviews for individuals.

Trying to understand what has swayed our parents and children can be helpful for gaining insight into why we think differently about politics and perhaps set a stage for finding common ground or appreciation for another perspective.

Focusing on our family connections and shared traditions, especially those rituals grounded in faith, hope and love, can help to overcome political discord. Break bread together. Learn about hopes and dreams and disappointments. Bear each other’s burdens and celebrate each other’s joys. Life is hard and we need our families to be a source of kindness and support.

If we can connect with our family members who vote by ticking the opposite box perhaps we can also truly see the humanity of others whose life course looks much different from our own.

Can we see the factory worker who fears losing his job? Can we see the mother struggling to care for her children? Can we see the college student seeking an education? Can we see the farmer facing decreasing yields? These are our neighbors, and we are to love them as we love ourselves.

— Lesley Ann Earles, First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville