Our Common Humanity

By Rachel Schmidt, Communications Coordinator, Pax Christi USA

“And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:25

The inauguration took place this past Friday, and I can’t think of another political race, in my lifetime, that created this much division. In my own family, there was definite disagreement about which bubble on the ballot to fill in for president, and my Thanksgiving was full of shock when I learned of our differences.

At one point, I had to excuse myself from the holiday party to digest our disparity. My initial reaction was, “How could these people I love choose something I see as so wrong, and what does this mean for our relationship?!” I came to a fork in the road. Turn one way and allow politics to be more important to me than those I love; turn the other way and choose family over my political convictions.

After my grief turned into acceptance, I said to my family members, “I truly believe that, as humans, we all have a different set of tools in our toolbox for life, and we can only make decisions based on what we think is best. So, I respect your decision.” My family thanked me, and we continued on with our holiday.

I learned an important lesson: disagreement does not have to equal division. I can disagree wholeheartedly with another human being and, at the same time, choose acceptance instead of division. My family and I chose our relationship and each other’s humanity over our political differences and choices for president, because if a family is divided against itself, that family will not be able to stand.

Hopefully, post-inauguration, we can learn that a nation divided against itself, with more regard for ideologies than human beings, will also not be able to stand. Our disagreements do not have to equal division, and for the sake of our future and our country we must prioritize our common humanity in our political discourse and decision making.

Weekly Reflections on Justice is produced by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, Columban parishioners, Columban Missionaries, and friends of the Columbans. We hope these reflections help to guide you in your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.