Since there aren’t enough opinions out there regarding the national anthem protests in the NFL (ūüė¨), I thought I would give mine as well.

Actually, this post is not intended to give my opinion on if the protest should exist, but what we should do about it.  

Plenty of opinions have been expressed on the news, in articles, and through social media.

My heart is burdened tonight by the ever-growing divide within our country, and so I want to contribute in some small way.  Regarding the NFL protests, Trump vs. Curry, Republicans vs. Democrats, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Twitter Wars, Facebook Rants, etc., here are some things you and I can do to help unite rather than divide.

  1. Realize that a social media post rarely changes anyone’s mind. ¬†Social media has given everyone a worldwide megaphone for the first time in civilization. ¬†With it, every side of every argument gets louder and more intense than the last social issue. ¬†When people read our posts (sometimes aptly described as a “rant”), it emboldens those who agree with us and it isolates those who disagree with us. ¬†In my experience, I rarely see someone change his or her mind on a stance due to someone’s social media post. ¬†Expressing my feelings to a person is more beneficial than broadcasting my opinion to a people.
  2. Acknowledge that your opinion is personal but not necessarily superior. ¬†Everyone has a right to their opinion and everyone has a reason for their opinion. ¬†My convictions can impassion me to the point where I refuse to hear anyone else’s reasonings for his or her opinion. ¬†The whole concept of freedom of speech is a tricky thing. ¬†I use my freedom of speech to express why I think another doesn’t deserve that right. ¬†On every side of these arguments, each camp is basically saying, “You don’t have the right to feel that way. ¬†You can’t say that. ¬†Now, listen to what I have to say!” ¬†What breaks my heart is the legitimate, personal, weighty heart-wrenching convictions on every side that we are closing are ears to and refusing to listen to another.
  3. Initiate an actual conversation with someone who thinks different from you. You want real change? ¬†Stop rallying your camp and have an actual conversation with someone from the different camp. ¬†Most people are non-confrontational in person, but yet the comfort of our technological devices cause many people to say things online that they would never say in person. ¬†If you are angry that NFL players are protesting, have you ever asked a person who supports that stance what it means to them? ¬†If you are supportive of the protest, have you ever asked a person personally connected with the military why the protest causes them to come unglued? ¬†If you don’t have a relationship with someone who thinks differently, that is part of the problem. ¬†A conversation might not change your stance but it might soften your rhetoric.
  4. Open your eyes to the unseen battle. ¬†I’m a Christian, so I have this belief that more is going on than what can be seen by physical eyes. ¬†The Apostle Paul wrote that we don’t wrestle against each other, we wrestle against spiritual forces (Eph. 6:12). ¬†What that means is the aware Christian will always look to see not only what is going on, but why it is going on. ¬†Why would the Devil desire to see Pentecost reversed back to Babel? ¬†Why would he want every election cycle to swing the pendulum further for the issues to become more extreme so that the next cycle would cause the next elected politician to be even more extreme than the last in order to respond to the previous extreme administration? ¬†Why would we be given worldwide megaphones where we could be using them to spread Christ’s Gospel and yet we often spread our conviction’s gospel? ¬†The great distraction for the Christian is to focus more on his or her tribe than on Christ’s Church. ¬†Major in the minors and isolate those different from you. ¬†Now, that sounds like a good strategy of someone who is called the deceiver (Rev. 12:9), accuser (Rev. 12:10), devourer (1 Pet. 5:8), and a disguiser as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) just to name a few of his monikers.

I know you are making a call on how you feel regarding NFL games, but never forget that there is another game going on right now and we are in it (Eph. 3:10).

I can’t fix the divide in our country, but I can choose to be part of the solution rather than the problem. ¬†And that’s my strategy.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.