“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35
The election is just two weeks away, and many of us are very ready for it to be completed and done. That is an odd statement coming from an American citizen who is so blessed to live in a form of government, a republic, which gives us the opportunity to have free elections. Many people around the world envy the opportunity afforded us by founding fathers who established this great system.
Yes, it is flawed, as are all human institutions. However, we are fortunate to have the opportunity of choice, and it appears that Americans are voting in record numbers. That is a good thing- when people take seriously the precious right to vote.
Yet, we see some devastating behavior on social media and in other media venues where people are vicious in their behavior toward one another. The truth is, as Christians, we need to recognize that there are sincere brothers and sisters on both sides of the political aisle. We need to respect opinions that we do not agree with. Even opinions we deeply disagree with.
One of the things I tell my client couples is that they need to try to assume best motives of their partners. That does not mean they need to agree. It means that they agree that the other party is not just out to hurt them- they simply disagree on a matter.
What if we assumed that people of our opposite political viewpoint actually had the best interest of the country at heart? That does not mean that we agree with them. We may not and may never agree, but we could agree that we both love our country and want what is best for it. Would that change the heat in the debate? Would that give us the opportunity to discuss ideas reasonably without proclaiming that if the other party won, the country would collapse? I don’t know.
I do know that I must respect differences in opinion without condemning another’s character simply because they disagree with me. This is hard to do when we are so committed to our beliefs. It is especially hard when, as I see in this election, that often, people are not FOR a side, they are AGAINST the other. That gives rise to an awful lot of heat.
Believe me, I am far from perfect in this behavior. I do have my opinions. I will not let that opinion get in the way of my love for a brother or sister who disagrees.
What if we tried that?
Prayer: Father, help us to love one another, even, maybe especially, when we do not agree, Amen