As Christians, Is It Even Possible To Agree To Disagree In This Political Climate?

As Christians, we will disagree on various issues. But when we do, we still need to love each other so we can cultivate peace and mutual edification.

As Christians, Is It Even Possible To Agree To Disagree In This Political Climate?

June 30, 2022

With a heavy heart I shut down my computer. Maybe it’s time to take a break from social media. That morning, instead of cheerful updates from friends and family, I had read one controversial post after another. Fiery comments from people on both sides of the issue peppered the ensuing debates. As I walked away from my desk, a memory from years ago popped into my mind.

Kicking off our weekly Bible study, our leader had asked our group of young, single, and childless professionals, “What sins do you believe grieve God’s heart the most?” After listening to us rattling off our list ~ pride, selfishness, lust, etc. ~ she smiled and shook her head. 

“You have all missed the most obvious. As a parent, what hurts my heart the most is when my children bicker with one another.”

I appreciated her wisdom more as I became a parent myself. But as I thought back to the posts and comments I had just read, her words took on a different significance. Sadly, it has become commonplace to see social media conversations filled with anger, judgment, and even hatred. But most distressing to me is when these types of comments are posted between members of Christ’s family. 

And I wonder: How does God feel when he sees us bickering like this?  

It may surprise you, as it did me, to know divisions caused by passions, even among Christians, is nothing new. The issues may be different, but the principles are the same. 

The Apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Romans. He references dietary restrictions (refraining from meat) and the celebration of special, or holy, days (Romans 14:1-5). To us these concerns may seem trivial. But for the early Christians, they had the same polarizing effect as our issues do today. 

For some of the Jewish converts, dietary restrictions and holy day celebrations had been an integral part of their lives. These practices set them apart as God’s holy people and they felt reluctant to let go of them. Other Jewish converts recognized the old covenant had been rendered obsolete (Hebrews 8:13) and embraced their newfound freedom. 

Both groups felt superior to the other. Not only did they judge those who didn’t share their convictions, they began to treat them with contempt (Romans 14:10). Paul reminded these Christians that all of us are accountable to God (Romans 14:12). For this reason, he encouraged them with these words:

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. (Romans 14:13 NIV)

As I read through this letter, I noticed Paul never asked either group to change their position. The issue wasn’t their differing convictions, but rather the way they treated each other because of their differences. Sadly, their actions caused some of the Christians to struggle in their faith.

This same principle holds true today. The more we push people to agree with us, the more we may push them away from us. And we risk hurting each other’s faith. We would do well to heed the advice Paul gave to the Roman Christians:

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19 NIV)

For me this means keeping an open mind and listening to people who hold opposing views. Recently I met with a close friend who often doesn’t see issues in the same light as I do. As we shared our thoughts on the most recent controversy, we gained a better understanding of why we each felt the way we do. Surprisingly, we learned we actually shared a number of beliefs about the issue. And although we didn’t change each other’s convictions, we gained a clearer perspective of the opposing side. Most importantly, we protected and preserved our close friendship. 

Agreeing to disagree may seem counterintuitive, especially when we feel passionately about an issue. But when we continue to love those who think differently from us, it opens the door to peace and mutual edification. 

Wherever the road leads us next, I’m sure we will face more controversial issues which will try to pull us apart. In those times, I pray we will love those who think differently from us. May we also entrust ourselves, as well as our passionate beliefs, to the One to who will one day hold us all accountable.

 

As Christians, Is It Even Possible To Agree To Disagree In This Political Climate?

June 30, 2022

As Christians, we will disagree on various issues. But when we do, we still need to love each other so we can cultivate peace and mutual edification.

With a heavy heart I shut down my computer. Maybe it’s time to take a break from social media. That morning, instead of cheerful updates from friends and family, I had read one controversial post after another. Fiery comments from people on both sides of the issue peppered the ensuing debates. As I walked away from my desk, a memory from years ago popped into my mind.

Kicking off our weekly Bible study, our leader had asked our group of young, single, and childless professionals, “What sins do you believe grieve God’s heart the most?” After listening to us rattling off our list ~ pride, selfishness, lust, etc. ~ she smiled and shook her head. 

“You have all missed the most obvious. As a parent, what hurts my heart the most is when my children bicker with one another.”

I appreciated her wisdom more as I became a parent myself. But as I thought back to the posts and comments I had just read, her words took on a different significance. Sadly, it has become commonplace to see social media conversations filled with anger, judgment, and even hatred. But most distressing to me is when these types of comments are posted between members of Christ’s family. 

And I wonder: How does God feel when he sees us bickering like this?  

It may surprise you, as it did me, to know divisions caused by passions, even among Christians, is nothing new. The issues may be different, but the principles are the same. 

The Apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Romans. He references dietary restrictions (refraining from meat) and the celebration of special, or holy, days (Romans 14:1-5). To us these concerns may seem trivial. But for the early Christians, they had the same polarizing effect as our issues do today. 

For some of the Jewish converts, dietary restrictions and holy day celebrations had been an integral part of their lives. These practices set them apart as God’s holy people and they felt reluctant to let go of them. Other Jewish converts recognized the old covenant had been rendered obsolete (Hebrews 8:13) and embraced their newfound freedom. 

Both groups felt superior to the other. Not only did they judge those who didn’t share their convictions, they began to treat them with contempt (Romans 14:10). Paul reminded these Christians that all of us are accountable to God (Romans 14:12). For this reason, he encouraged them with these words:

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. (Romans 14:13 NIV)

As I read through this letter, I noticed Paul never asked either group to change their position. The issue wasn’t their differing convictions, but rather the way they treated each other because of their differences. Sadly, their actions caused some of the Christians to struggle in their faith.

This same principle holds true today. The more we push people to agree with us, the more we may push them away from us. And we risk hurting each other’s faith. We would do well to heed the advice Paul gave to the Roman Christians:

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19 NIV)

For me this means keeping an open mind and listening to people who hold opposing views. Recently I met with a close friend who often doesn’t see issues in the same light as I do. As we shared our thoughts on the most recent controversy, we gained a better understanding of why we each felt the way we do. Surprisingly, we learned we actually shared a number of beliefs about the issue. And although we didn’t change each other’s convictions, we gained a clearer perspective of the opposing side. Most importantly, we protected and preserved our close friendship. 

Agreeing to disagree may seem counterintuitive, especially when we feel passionately about an issue. But when we continue to love those who think differently from us, it opens the door to peace and mutual edification. 

Wherever the road leads us next, I’m sure we will face more controversial issues which will try to pull us apart. In those times, I pray we will love those who think differently from us. May we also entrust ourselves, as well as our passionate beliefs, to the One to who will one day hold us all accountable.

 

Share this post on Facebook!

4 Comments

  1. Margaret on July 1, 2022 at 7:46 AM

    I can SO relate to this! I had a similar experience with social media last night. Thank you, Shirley, for your wise words.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on July 1, 2022 at 9:06 AM

      Thank you Margaret! I’m glad God’s word can apply to what we face today. 💕

  2. Teresa on July 1, 2022 at 8:07 AM

    Shirley, I love how this spoke to my heart with all that is going on in our world it is hard sometimes to not want to change a persons view on things going on. I just wish that we could just listen to each other more and not always wanting to change them or what they belief. I also feel we don’t listen, just listen to people. I am glad that I have my faith.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on July 1, 2022 at 9:08 AM

      Thank you Teresa. Yes, I also wish we, as a society, could listen to each other more ~ I think we’d be surprised at what we learn. Thankfully our faith is such a comfort in times like these. 💕

Leave a Comment