I personally don’t have a horse in this presidential race. I’ve never had a horse in any presidential race. Ever. Until last night, I had never seen a political debate in my life. I was an impartial observer, listening without any degree of emotion invested in either candidate or party whatsoever.
My favorite moment in last evening’s debate weren’t any of the verbal torpedoes being fired back and forth. It was the last question asked, where they went from flinging mud and feces at each other for an hour straight to saying something positive about the other – yes, positive affirmation at a political debate!
I would have preferred if the debate had culminated with Trump and Hillary slow hugging at center stage for like six minutes straight as everyone clapped and whistled and then maybe performing a song and dance number together. In the interim, the fact the question was even answered at all will just have to suffice for the time being.
But I loved it. Something respectable they recognized in the other – their desire, their will, their tie, their hairstylist, something nice about the others’ family…ANYTHING! I don’t care! I’ll take it! It’s positive!
I’m sure many will question the sincerity of what Trump said about Hillary and what Hillary said about Trump. And I understand that when two people from opposing parties are running for the highest political office in the free world, there’s going to be passionate disagreement and a tennis game of accusations.
But as I watched it, for those few moments, brief as they were, it seemed to change the atmosphere. The expression on their faces looked different. There was this calm that wasn’t there before. I was actually moved by it and felt a warmth that I was not expecting to experience.
It was just a minute or two in what was a fiery debate (and that’s putting it lightly) that no doubt will only escalate from here, but it was refreshing for me, even if it was for only a moment, seeing the name-calling and the finger pointing and the mudslinging come to a pause as they looked the other in the eye and said “…But here’s something positive that I see in you and wish to commend you on…”
Sometimes, we find ourselves slinging mud and feces at someone else. Some people spend an entire lifetime doing it. They’re some of the most miserable people on earth.
But there’s tremendous power in positive affirmation.
There is life that is breathed into everyone involved when we dare to look deep enough at even our fiercest enemy and to search for the beauty that is within them. When we no longer view them as Republican or Democrat, as this or as that, and we recognize their humanity, with all of its complexities and our eyes are opened to the common ground that we’ve shared with them all this time. That’s when we begin to feel a love for them, as compassion and empathy begins to do its work.
In our cases (no longer talking about politics), there is no greater feeling in the world than when the peace of Jesus Christ comes into our interpersonal warzones, and even if it’s exclusively on our parts, we feel all of the hellish bats of resentment, of unforgiveness, of animosity and of rage fly far away from us, back into the hell they came to us from.
It all begins with a positive thought and viewpoint of that person. Followed with a positive word of affirmation as we let the peace of Christ rule in the dispute.
In far too many cases, that other person has dealt with so much pain and with so much darkness, when they hear us say something positive – something actually positive about them, when they are expecting yet another torpedo, they will be blown away by the blast of love.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down. But a good word makes it glad.” – Solomon