There was an eerie silence in Times Square November 9th. In the city that never sleeps, you could hear a pin drop at 1:00 am. No one spoke.

“God has given us another chance” I read in a post the next day. “I don’t think I can forgive them for voting for Trump,” said another. “How can we possibly believe in the same God while holding such opposing views?” “Maybe they aren’t really Christians.” “81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump and I don’t want to be associated with them, so what do I call myself?” “Maybe we shouldn’t spend Thanksgiving together.”

A nation divided. A family divided. And both are mine.

It’s easy to find people who agree with us, to vent with those already converted to our point of view. But isn’t it more important to discover what this reveals about us? What causes our deep reactions? Yours and mine?

Many are offended or deeply hurt by casual comments spoken in church spaces or the homes of friends and relatives. We make polite visits during the holidays, all the while steering clear of the cavernous differences. The majority tries to convert the minority, oblivious to the damage caused. Switch houses and the roles are reversed. In some cases, just asking about differences is offensive. Seeing the vast variance in what family members believe may cause some to want to stay in the comfortable environment of their own home.

In Philippians 2, Paul encourages us to have this mind among ourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus, who “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant.”

And in Ephesians 4, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Take warning. It’s so easy to give into evil when we are offended and angry. There is only one answer. Look to Jesus for the mind of Christ. It is ours. Ask for it!

Consider what Christ might be asking of us this holiday season as we spend time with family or friends.

  1. Practice healthy listening and talking skills.

If you’re unable to suggest the following, at least practice them yourself. The goal is not to agree or attempt to convert the other but to hear and be heard.

  • The hearer: Don’t interrupt. When the speaker is finished, repeat back to her what you understood without a tone of shock or condemnation. Ask if this is correct.
  • The speaker: Talk in short phrases, pausing for the hearer to say what he understood. If the understanding was inaccurate, correct your statement. Only tackle one subject at a time and then let the hearer take a turn speaking.
  1. Pay attention to your body.

When I sense the rising emotion between being offended and furious (Ephesians 4 describes me quite well), I cannot talk to anyone. I’ve already lost my mind, so to speak, because my amygdala has been hijacked. We literally experience a rush of adrenaline that enables us to fight or flee in moments of danger. In other words, when you feel like shutting down or fighting, let that be a sign that you are not in your right mind. You are not really in danger, so wait until the rush is over and you are back in your right mind.

  1. Remember you are not in a courtroom.

For those in Christ Jesus, the verdict has already been spoken over you. Christ took what we deserved. We in turn get everything that belongs to Christ Jesus. Remembering this can be so freeing. Even though we want it, we do not have to have the approval of others. Even though we want others to hear our viewpoint, we can accept the disappointment if they won’t. This is only possible if we have the approval and the ear of the one person who really matters.

  1. Consider asking if you can have this conversation.

“This election has revealed deep divides in our nation, families and churches. Can we leave Hillary and Donald out of the conversation, and talk about the values that have been exposed by this election?

If the answer is no, respect their decision. However, often without having agreed to this conversation, we may still hear unkind or inappropriate comments. Decide your course of action ahead of time. To honor someone’s decision not to talk about politics, you may want to leave the table or walk away when these comments are made. Actions are powerful. Don’t underestimate the work of the Spirit in these situations.

  1. If you think a true conversation can be had, ask real questions in humility and truth.

“I care about you and want to understand your viewpoint. Even if we don’t see eye to eye, can we agree to disagree and still be okay with each other?”

  1. Admit when you are offended

It takes great humility to admit hurt and offense without blaming and judging. Remember the amygdala and do this only when you are calm–in other words, not in the middle of the conversation. By admitting offense, we aren’t asking for understanding or repentance on anyone else’s part. We are just keeping the doors of relationship open.

Often, difficult political conversations leave us even more offended than when we started. Let this be an opportunity to ask ourselves what is going on inside. Are we so self-righteous that we think we are right and everyone else is wrong? Has God put you and me on the throne? Has he given us the right to judge?

I can’t speak for you, but I can say a resounding yes for myself. This week I have acted as if all of the above are true.

Hillary and Donald aren’t coming to our Thanksgiving meal. Instead, what they represent has revealed who we really are. And this is who will be sitting around our dinner tables on Thursday.