I have been having a lot more peace this election cycle because I have been for the most part ignoring it. Several years ago Nan and I gave up our television cable , which is the only way we can receive the broadcast stations – no antenna works up here where we live. I also don’t spend much time in my car anymore, so I am not tempted to tune into talk radio.
Is this because I am apathetic towards politics?
No, it is because my beliefs and convictions are not based on the emotional intensity that surrounds the process as the race heats up. It reminds me of an auction where people make foolish bids in an attempt to be the winner of an item. Or perhaps it is like the process of buying a house where there are multiple offers and people will over extend themselves or over pay in order to avoid the feeling of loss.
The truth is that a good buyer determines the worth of an object before the bidding starts and won’t exceed a set limit. The educated home buyer will ignore the professional staging of the property (which may include rented furniture and “window dressing”) and focus instead on the essential elements. And the astute voter considers the principles and long term goals of the political party platform rather than the individual candidate. In each of these cases extreme temporary emotions should not determine the decisions made.
How about in relationships?
In the same vein, relationships cannot be chosen or rejected by the intense emotions that will crop up now and again for every couple. In the heat of the moment we must be aware of the presence (or lack) of foundational good values that is essential for the relationship’s success. To some degree relationships are defined by the frequency, intensity and duration of the conflicts that occur, but we must determine whether the skirmishes are mostly superficial or if they are deep-seated and destructive. Both can damage the relationship, but the corrective work that needs to be done is very different.
A marriage commitment is serious, and we approach counseling differently with a couple who comes to us in a dating relationship vs. an established marriage. It is sort of like when Nan and I were considering purchasing the business I was working for. As an employee I was “dating” the company. But as an owner I was married to it. As an employee I could benefit from the profit. However as an owner I had to generate the profit. That meant I had to believe in the elemental soundness of the entity. I couldn’t just bail when it didn’t feel good and I got scared, frustrated or bored. And I can assure you that I felt all three and more during the 27 years of ownership.
The bottom line is this: it takes maturity and stability in our convictions to make good choices. We must guard against making decisions based on “sound bites” and temporary feelings. Instead, we must be people of substance.
Ephesians 4:14 (NLT)
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.