Hope in Politics – Is It a Choice? 5 Ways to Practice Hope

“When you feel yourself reacting negatively to something you hear, hit pause in your mind.
Ask yourself (1) ‘Why am I reacting this way?’ and (2) ‘What could this conversation be like without my reaction?'”
– Sarah Holland, Beth Silvers

5 Ways to Practice Hope in Politics

Is Politics Hopeless?

We each can feel hopeless about a variety of things.

But one area of hopelessness common among many Americans is politics.

The divide seems too large to bridge. Red states, blue states, progressives, conservatives, us vs them.

I’ve never been as politically aware as I’ve been the past few years. While it’s been satisfying to have more knowledge of the issues, it’s also been discouraging. To both fire me up and bring me down, start talking politics.

But even in politics, there is hope, right?

Yes, there is. This quote by Sarah Holland and Beth Silvers gives me hope. It’s from their book, I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations.

We’ve decided to stop calling America ‘divided.’

Buying into this conflict-driven narrative is a choice, and it’s a choice we’re not going to make. We don’t feel divided from each other or the people in our lives in any way.

There are no perfect relationships, ideas, people, or organizations in our lives. They’re all flawed, just as we are flawed.

But we see past those flaws—because we are first looking for the good.

5 Hope Practices

Here are five commitments from I Think You’re Wrong that I want to use to practice hope in politics.

1. Commit to recognizing and putting down your defensiveness.

2. Commit to learning something in the discussion.

3. Commit to having a dialogue instead of giving alternate speeches.

4. Commit to assessing whether you’re the right person to say what is on your mind. (Sometimes the answer is no.)

5. Commit to ending the discussion knowing that you have strengthened the relationship.

Within the boundaries of these commitments, we can talk politics with our family and friends and even strangers productively and respectfully. We can grow in self-awareness and love for others whether we’re on the same side of an issue or polar opposite. We can let go of being morally outraged every day at some new comment and instead listen with curiosity and grace.

As Beth and Sarah say,

“Remember that you are part of something so much bigger than one election, one vote, and one law.”

I believe that. Therefore, I will choose hope, even in politics.

* * *

Who do you talk politics with? Everybody, nobody, only a select few? Do you find it hopeful? Please share in the comments.

See all the posts in my Practicing Hope series.

7 thoughts on “Hope in Politics – Is It a Choice? 5 Ways to Practice Hope

  1. Michele Morin

    I do wonder of much of the rancor in politics comes from misplaced (and therefore disappointed) hopes. As Chuck Colson used to say, “Salvation will not arrive on Air Force One.” Our hope is in Christ alone. Certainly no political party or candidate can bear the weight of all our hopes and dreams.

  2. Laurie

    I had to laugh when I saw the title of your post. It was a question, not a statement. I have found politics hopeless lately. The book recommendation and the tips are much appreciated! We should be able to talk with one another, even if we don’t agree politically.

  3. Barbara Harper

    I usually avoid political discussions all together except with my immediate family. Partly because it’s not an area of interest for me but mostly because it is so divisive. If everyone talked about politics the way you describe here, then it would be easier and more beneficial.

  4. Kim

    Amen, sister! We can keep repeating, “The sky is falling!” but that doesn’t change anything. That just keeps us wrapped up in worry and strife. Thanks for sharing these awesome points. Right on!

  5. floyd samons

    I try to avoid political discussions. I’m one of those people that believe strongly about my point of view and can defend it effectively… but to what end?

    In the last ten years I chosen to listen and try to understand why and how people come to believe how they do.

    I’ve found that even though I try to avoid the conversation it inevitably happens. When I remove my emotion from the conversation I find that others will, for the most part, be more apt to lose theirs as well.

  6. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Thanks, Lisa, for approaching a difficult subject, and about which we need some hope in navigating it. I believe one of the biggest problems with Evangelicals right now (and I am an Evangelical) is that we put our hope in politics even more than God, often. Politics has become a huge idol. If we elect the right President, who will elect the right SCOTUS Justices, who will make the right decisions, from our perspective, then all will be well. We will finally have hope. There will be hope for America. It goes something like that. Interestingly, Roe v Wade, which I think all Christians would rightfully condemn, was decided in a 7-2 majority decision, and 6 of those Justices were Conservative!! SIX!!! Even SCOTUS’s most recent decision to block the Louisiana abortion law is a 5/4 split, w/ Conservative Justice Roberts joining liberal Justices!! Nope. Our hope is not in SCOTUS or Presidents or Congress or Senate or laws, themselves, or even America, that shining city on the hill. I’m patriotic. I love America. I’m a good citizen who obeys the law, and I try to cast God-honoring votes. But ultimately my only citizenship–the one that counts eternally, is this: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, if the one given to me (Phil 3:20).” That is it! My hope is NOT in Politics but in the Prince of Peace, the Savior of my soul. There is really no other hope for this life and the next!

    Tx so much for sharing!!


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