Every day, our country seems more and more divided. So many of us are so utterly convinced we’re right that we refuse to listen to other perspectives unless it’s to point out their mistakes. The gap has only grown with time.
As Christians, what can we do about the division in our country and the world at large? We can’t completely repair the damage, but we can begin taking steps in the right direction. Let’s look at how to get started.
What Did Jesus Have to Say?
One particularly relevant verse comes from the Beautitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Though Jesus acknowledges that bringing peace is not always possible or desirable, He still holds up those who strive for peace as righteous. Even more importantly, remember that the entire story of the Bible is about God being the ultimate peacemaker by sending Jesus to take our punishment and make peace between a holy God and a sinful planet. God is a peacemaker!
God Loves Us All the Same
An increasingly common “us vs. them” mindset can cause a disagreement to escalate from tension to name calling or worse. Given enough time, it’s easy to begin conflating viewpoints with individuals, leading you to dismiss the people holding those beliefs as thoroughly as you dismiss the beliefs themselves. This makes loving your neighbor as yourself challenging.
Disagreeing with someone is normal and acceptable. But even as you disagree, remember how God views the entire human race. He sent our Savior while we were still constantly sinning, and salvation is available to all, not just those of a particular nationality or political affiliation. We are all human beings specially created in the image of God. At the end of the day, everyone deserves love simply because God made them and cares for them, regardless of what they believe.
It is possible, and biblically encouraged, to build and maintain relationships with people you disagree with. This doesn’t mean to stop praying for them or stop presenting the truth as you can. However, don’t become their friend solely to convince them to be saved or even to agree with you on less important points. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance, but the first step in that process was sitting down to have dinner with them.
The Bible instructs us to both love what is good and love all people, regardless of beliefs. These commands are not contradictory! It may take effort, but it is both possible and highly encouraged to reach out to others and respect them as human beings even as you disagree with them.
Contact us to learn more about bridging the gap in our divided world.