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Light the Road to 2018.

Taft Matney

I heard someone say that there’s a reason the rearview mirror is so small and the windshield is so big. We don’t need to spend time thinking about what’s behind us. We need to focus on what’s ahead.

Well, Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror. Christmas is just down the road, and the new year is one interstate exit past that. Then, we cross the state line to 2018.

What will that road look like?2017 has arguably been The Year of Hate.

We hate politicians and the people who work for them because they’re intentionally trying to destroy America. We hate INSERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL RIVAL HERE because they’re all classless rednecks who probably also kick puppies in their spare time. We hate opinions different than our own and the people who express them because they’re obviously not nearly as smart as we are and don’t have the intellectual capability to solve all of the world’s problems like we do. We hate people who drive slowly in the left lane and force us to pass on the right. OK, that last one may be justified, but I digress.

Anyway, we hate and have no problem saying it to anyone who’ll listen to our rants. Talk radio, social media, newspaper op-eds, etc. If there’s an outlet for us to express our hate toward a person, group, or idea, we took 2017 as the year to let everybody know how we feel.We deserve better than that.

Think about the time and energy that goes in to hating something or someone. You have to be intentional about it. You have to want to do it and make a conscious decision to invest a large part of who you are in to hating, and the more people, ideas, or things you hate, the more of your time and energy go in to it. Just like any other activity, hate takes effort…especially if you want to get good at it.

Don’t get me wrong. We have some serious issues facing us, but does me hating you or you hating me solve any of them? It’s not a trick question. The answer is a solid, “No!”
Spending our energy on hate not only does nothing to solve our problems, it widens the gaps that divide us and makes things worse. On top of that, it’ll wear you out.

1 John 2:11 says, “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”
Let’s start spending some time listening to each other. Let’s figure out where our common ground is and use that as a starting point to begin working on solutions.

All of the holidays coming up this month have one thing in common, light. My wish for you and for us is that as we cross from the darkness of 2017, we carry the light with us to 2018 and beyond. Whether it’s the Light of the World or the Festival of Lights, let those lights help show the way down the road to a brighter future and a new day.

— Taft Matney serves in Seat 1 on Mauldin city Council. He can be reached at tmatney@mauldincitysc.com.♦

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