A House Divided

Photo: Zugr via Unsplash

Photo: Zugr via Unsplash

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.– Mark 3:25

On this day in 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered his House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois.

The most remembered portion of that speech was this:

 

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

The Civil War was one of the ugliest times in our nation’s history. “Brother against brother” was the term that was used. Friends killing friends.

Let’s not debate the causes of the war. You’ve read what I’ve written before (or you should have).

I’m not one to speculate that we’re on the brink of another Civil War. But we are as a nation more divided than anytime in my extended memory. And whilst that memory is growing ever older and perhaps dimmer, it covers a pretty wide span.

I have attempted to hold my tongue regarding the events of the last weekend. And I really want to now. But it’s difficult.

All across the country, all across social media people are proclaiming their views about what happened and about what must be done.

It’s been just about all I could do to not scream: STFU!

Instead, I’ve made a judicious use of the “unfollow” option.

Everyone is just screaming past everyone else. No one is listening, or reading anything that might in the least conflict with their own views.

I am personally just as angry with those who refuse to blame Radical Islam as I am who want to ban all Muslims from this country. I am personally just as frustrated with those who say this was our fault as I am with those who say this could have been solved if occupants of the nightclub were armed.

But screaming that here, or on Facebook, or Twitter isn’t going to solve anything.

Let me just say this, you can post all the rainbows and hugs that you want, but if you hate people who own guns, or who believe the Bible, or who support Donald Trump…and NO they’re not all the same…then your claims of diversity and love ring false. Don’t argue with me. I can cut and paste the vile things you’ve said.

And let me just say this to those on the other side (why do there have to be sides?), you can claim to love and follow Jesus, but you might want to do a little more reading about what he said. Likewise, don’t you argue with me either, I can cut and paste the vile things you’ve posted on your way to church.

We can’t fix everyone. And nothing will be fixed on social media.

Collectively as a country, we all need to back away from anonymity of our keyboards and stop to think whether we’d say something to someone’s face. We might.

But if we keep yelling, and screaming, and hating each other we won’t need terrorists to destroy us. We’ll do it ourselves.

Lincoln knew that, and the country was darn near destroyed.

I understand that social media is how we vent, sometimes it’s how we grieve.

And I understand that much of the posting has been out of that grief and frustration of not knowing what to do.

But much, much more of it has been about advancing certain political agendas.

Until we realize that and start to post a bit more respectfully we’ll just keep talking past one another.

And, we’ll remain divided.

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