Politics has a bad name no matter where it is played. It does not matter where the interaction occurs; when we see something bad we often label it with simple as politics. We talk of others by describing the situation with the motives that we believe we see. The process appears so obvious to those on the outside. Somehow when the people in the middle are close to us everything loses their stark colors and turns into multiple shades of ambiguous gray.
What is it that makes the situation so obvious?
First, we see someone or something we value under attack. We find ourselves defending decisions that we made yesterday. We believe that others are challenging us for who we are today. We sense that conclusions are forming about tomorrow that will take away the hope we carry today as we struggle to carry on against the forces attacking today.
Second, when we find ourselves in the firing line we assume that others see every weakness we know of and even some that we cannot see. The feeling that every barb, criticism, and accusation is person is real, at least for most of us.
Third, we assume that any tendency that we have is now being played out in real life by another. We know in our hearts that there are moments when we want to eliminate anything that stands in our way. Everyone has that leaning, right? We are sure that our anger and frustration at not getting our way is the same anger and frustration growing in anyone that holds a value different from our own. They do carry those emotions, don’t they? We find ourselves fighting in battles to hold onto beliefs, values, and priorities that define who we are. It is extremely difficult to let go of these life shaping principles or to admit that there may be another way at looking at these things.
It is as if a virus lives within all. “What a bad person plots against the good, boomerangs; the plotter gets it in the end.” (Proverbs 21.18)