The image of two people yelling at one another is fresh in our minds. That doesn’t help anyone. It never does. When was the last time you thought, “You know, they yell louder. I think I like them more.” Never happened. It never does.

When have you ever been swayed by a deftly written Facebook post? Never. 

The person with the loudest voice, loses. The person who comes to the table, wins. But only if they can get other people to join them. You see, that’s what we are talking about here. In the political climate of the day, we have been pitted against one another. Instead of being one nation, we are one nation divided. Everything divides us today. This is clearly evident, because there is not a conversation about the things that unite us. In an atmosphere of hate, the most hateful continue to get the press and those who want to unite, simply fade away.

Can this change? And if so, what can we do? 

We can come to the table. We can stop yelling. We can remember that first and foremost, people are people. They’re just like us. They have thoughts, feelings, ambitions, conviction; they have value. We’re forgetting this value, and it ultimately makes its way into our churches.

We also need to remember that people are not projects. They aren’t someone you can force a conversion on. We can’t have the end goal of conversion at the top of every conversation. It’s not real or natural, and if the only goal you have is to make a convert, you will forget the most important aspect of discipleship: the journey. If it was only about conversion, Jesus would have left his disciples early on. Instead, he kept company with a bunch of rejects and helped them shape the future. Are you willing to do the same?

You need to stop yelling and come to the table. 

Put aside your differences and see the person across from you the same way Jesus sees them: as someone made in the image of God, inherently created with value and someone who can become a world-shaper. Why? Because they are.

Stop yelling. Start talking.