Why Can’t We Get Along?
Our world seems more divided than ever before. We’re seeing family division, violence and hatred. Why can’t we all just get along?
Why is everyone seemingly at each other’s throats right now? With so many outlets of expression (texting, Facebook, Twitter and so on), many are constantly letting everybody else know what they think and what others should think. When somebody disagrees with somebody, or everybody disagrees with somebody, or everybody disagrees with everybody (which seems to be what we have now)—watch out!
This can cause serious rifts in families and friendships, erupt into violence and public attacks, and destroy reputations and careers. Basically it results in all-around misery for everyone.
Why is this happening?
Let’s look at three reasons: pride, partiality and hypocrisy.
Pride, an unrealistic and elevated view of ourselves and our opinions, can affect how we think on such a deep level that we often don’t even know it’s there.
Consider the following examples of pride, and how it is causing so many arguments and misery between people.
- Pride of intelligence and knowledge: feeling like one knows more than someone else about an issue (which may or may not be true) and adopting a condescending attitude toward the other.
- Pride of appearance: having a sense of greater worth based on how one looks.
- Pride of race: thinking that skin color makes one inherently superior to someone of a different color.
- Pride of station: believing that one’s career, education, financial status, social status and so forth make one better than someone else.
- Pride of spirituality: considering that one’s self-perceived righteousness is superior to that of others.
- Pride of experience: believing that one’s experiences are more valid for making one’s perspectives closer to objective truth than someone else’s.
There are many more examples, leading to many more catastrophic interactions between human beings. The Bible tells us that pride disconnects us from God, but humility draws us closer to Him (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Likewise, pride also divides us from each other, but humility will bring us closer together.
We all have preferences, making us all partial to different flavors, music, interests, entertainment and even personality traits. However, when we become partial in our dealings with other human beings, that’s when sharp division sets in.
Take, for instance, some of these examples of partiality:
- Partiality in justice: “I have more money to defend myself in court and more connections to get myself out of jams.”
When we become partial in our dealings with other human beings, that’s when sharp division sets in.Partiality in outrage: “This horrible thing is okay because it’s being done by people I agree with, but I can’t stand it when this other horrible thing is done by people I disagree with.”
- Partiality in values: “This really important thing is not so important to me, but this other really important thing is.”
- Partiality in history: “We don’t need to know the messy parts of our history, just what enables us to feel good about ourselves.”
- Partiality in opportunities: “Wealthy people deserve more opportunities than poor people.”
- Partiality in facts: “I like these facts, but these other ones that clearly contradict them should be ignored.”
One of the truly great things about God is that He shows no partiality (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). He judges perfectly and without partiality (Deuteronomy 1:17) and views people without partiality (James 2:1-13). When partiality is present, there will always be conflict and fighting over fairness and the truth.
Jesus Christ, in Matthew 23, gives several scathing rebukes of hypocrisy to the religious leaders of His time, and for all time. Using some of these specific examples, we can see how hypocrisy is alive and well—and making us argue with each other all the time.
Consider just a few of the many ways we see hypocrisy in our world today:
- Defending greed and selfish ambition inherent in driving the economy, but decrying those abusing welfare.
- Defending illegal behavior and lack of personal responsibility as people having no choice, but denouncing mistreatment of the poor by the wealthy.
- Defending the biblical principles against sinful behavior, but secretly practicing the same sins.
- Defending poor moral behavior in someone we agree with, but condemning the poor moral behavior in someone we disagree with.
Hypocrisy makes us angry and distrustful of each other because it never feels as if we are getting straight talk or being respected.
Knowing is half the battle
What pride, partiality and hypocrisy share in common is that they are all spiritual and character issues. Just as we can all be susceptible to these sins subtly creeping into our lives, we can all strive to avoid them. Pride, partiality and hypocrisy are definitely not the only ingredients in the stew of hatred and division that is brewing to a boil right now, but they are huge factors.
It’s as if we’re dealing with a disease that has taken over our minds, so let’s start dousing pride with humility, partiality with fairness, and hypocrisy with genuineness.