I refuse, at this point, to weigh in on the current events of the day here in South Carolina (for reasons that will become apparent below). But I will not hesitate to zoom out a bit and offer a bit of advice that I’ve learned from people wiser than myself, and that I’ve seen modeled by those whom I look up to.
It is notably important in our perpetual-news-cycle, soundbite-based, knee-jerk, hyper-incendiary, shoot-from-the-hip society to remember that big issues are those things that have always been, and will always be, significant issues. If something is “hot” in the media, clogging up the airwaves, that does not mean it is something worth creating divisions over or firing off on social media about.
And trust me, the issues that are timeless, those things that have been dissected, discussed and debated over for centuries not years, millennia not moments, are worth our time. We will know important issues because we are more apt to invite a friend out for coffee, or to our home for a meal to discuss them. We will know the smaller, less important issues by their tendency to be played out on social media and in tidal waves of media coverage that dissipate as quickly as they appear. Important issues will be those that incite us to pray before we speak. Lesser issues will be those which taunt and draw us into verbal sparring matches like barroom brawls.
Let us be smart as we decide before we speak whether an issue is important enough to offend an acquaintance or friend. Maybe the wisest thing we can do, as we navigate the treacherously shifting sands of modern media culture, is to admit that we do have an opinion but that opinion may not be as important as the relationships it could strain. And if it is that important, we are best served in all things to choose our moments wisely.
If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work.
– CS Lewis