Have you ever been to the North Pole? How about the South Pole?
It is unlikely.
Getting there is not easy. If you do get there, you face harsh conditions, including cold beyond anything that most of us experience. Yet, even though we may never get there, we are aware of these spots at the two most extreme parts of our planet – the farthest northern and southern points.
In the next few months we will think of the north pole – or at least a fictional one where Santa dwells. Otherwise we seldom think about these extreme ends of the earth.
Scientists will, as they try to figure out what is occurring in the world. They will examine what is changing at these unique places on earth, filled with snow and ice. But, most of us will give hardly any thoughts to these poles.
I am thinking of poles today.
These extreme places, on opposite ends of the planet, come to mind when I think of our current environment. Let me explain.
You cannot get farther apart from each other than the north and south poles. We use phrases to define what the relationship between the two is like. Phrases like, “poles apart” “polar opposites”, and so on. While they possess many similarities, they are opposites.
They are alike. They both have snow, ice, extreme cold. They both are largely uninhabited by people and have unique animals or birds that reside there. Yet, they are very separate. The distance between them is the greatest distance possible on our planet.
We use them to describe the relationship that can exist between people. We can be like our neighbors on so many levels, but we can also see things very differently. We can be close in physical distance, yet “poles apart” on so many other levels.
We had an election in Canada this week. The results reflect the diversity and divisions, which exist regionally in our vast nation – divisions, which have existed for a long time. Past elections exposed this diversity and division. However, in the aftermath of this election, the division in sharper, more defined, and distinct.
Canada’s experience is not a uniquely Canadian one – especially after an election. Many other places experience diverse views and perspectives causing divisions and distinctions, which separate people into different camps. – regionally or otherwise as they choose their representatives.
Following an election it is common for there to be frustration over what occurred, especially by those who hoped for a different result. It is a normal reaction, particularly when the campaign is fierce, even nasty.
What good leadership does, following the aftermath of election results, is signal that it is now time to work together for the betterment of all. Regardless of whether you supported the winners or not, it is time to acknowledge we do not all agree or see things the same way. However, it is time to work together on everyone’s behalf.
Good leadership does that.
It does it because otherwise the divisions, the polarization, leads to destruction. Jesus said as much.
In Matthew 12 we read where Jesus makes this statement.
It is a statement, but it is also a warning. If you try and function in the midst of division, you will not be successful. Eventually, it will fall apart. Unity is crucial to success.
Nations, politican leaders, organizational leaders, and countless others cite these words of oneness and act in ways to ensure that division is overcome. In the past, it meant coming to places of concensus or compromise to find solutions to complex difficult directions where diverse opinions exist.
This “was” the pattern of behaviour. Not anymore.
These days it seems we do everything we can to resist coming to concensus or compromise. We stick to our perspectives and will not budge no matter what. We, and our supporters, know best. If you do not agree, or see things my way, you become the enemy and I see you as the south pole while am in the north.
Jesus said this attitude will bring about destruction.
After witnessing such a divisive election and a very divided nation in the aftermath, I am praying our leaders heed the words of Jesus. I am praying they lay aside their pride, arrogance, self interest and work for all of us – regardless of where we reside or whether we voted for them or not.
In my estimation, without the presence of this attitude of humility, our nation will take significant steps toward deepening polarization. We will move toward becoming people separated as far as the north pole is from the south pole. Divided to the point where destruction is possible.
Avoiding that will require good leadership.
It is needed now more than ever or the words of Jesus will become more than words. Please pray for Canada and our leaders.