How To Love People You Disagree With

How to love people who disagree with you.

 

Y’all, I don’t like disagreeing with people.  I am very anti-confrontational and always have been.  I am always going to be the one to simply back off and not engage if I realize I’m not going to break any ground in a conversation.  I don’t like to argue.  Really and truly I don’t.

 

Which means, btw, that if you and I have ever had a tense exchange, it means either A) I thought you might be open to hearing my side of what we didn’t agree on and B) I thought the subject matter important enough to contend for.

 

That being said, this past year has given me a lot of potential bitterness to chew on.  I didn’t realize it until recently when I was doing a sort of mental timeline, but 2011 sucked, y’all.  The conservative/traditional/bible belt knives were flying about all willy nilly, just looking for a back to sink into.  And we came out the other end with a few scars.

 

So what do I do to keep from being overcome with resentment?  Well first I, ahem, unsubscribe from people on facebook.  If your mouse hand causes you to sin, cut it off and all that.

 

But mostly, I just hold close to the knowledge that my adversaries truly think they’re right. And that helps me humanize them, sympathize with them.

 

My enemies aren’t actually my enemies. They’re just people, like me, following what they think to be true. My fight isn’t with them.  My fight isn’t against flesh and blood.

 

And you know what? Five years ago, I would have been my own enemy.  My “truths” were different back then.  Most of them weren’t actually “true”.  But I thought they were.  Jessica-five-years-ago would have disagreed on about every subject imaginable with Jessica-of-today.  Such is life.

 

We grow, we mature, we learn.

 

None of this is new.  None of this should be unexpected.

 

“I will send you the Advocate – the Spirit of truth.  He will come to you from the Father and will testify about me…I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.  For you will be expelled from the synagogues and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. “*

 

People act out of a certainty that they are right.  Religious people act out of a certainty that they are doing what their God wants them to do.  Christian people act out of a certainty that they’re honoring their rubber bracelets.

 

Sadly, that doesn’t ensure that any of us are getting it right.  Sometimes we get it wrong.  Sometimes I get it wrong.  Sometimes my enemies get it wrong.

 

And that leaves me trying hard every day to remember that Jesus warned me about this and expected me not to abandon my faith anyway.  In the face of in-fighting and backstabbing and theological snobbery I try to sift the chaff of my religion and cling to the wheat.

 

So, I will find ways to love my enemies, to sympathize with them.  Because there must always be room for grace.  And, ya know, WWJD and stuff.

 

-Jessica

John 15:26-16:2

photo by serban enache

Comments

  1. I like what you say about really that your adversaries really believe they are right… it helps humanize them. Yes! This is sooo true. Especially with election time drawing near it seems like disagreements and mudslinging are ramping up quite a bit, so it’s good to keep your words in mind.

    I appreciated your post very much, Jessica. Thanks…

    • Jessica says:

      You’re welcome. :) I find this particularly helpful not just in disagreeing with christians but with people who disagree with our choosing not to vaccinate or our choosing TO homeschool. They really really think they’re right and that I”m wrong. Gotta almost respect that, ya know? Lol.

  2. Funny, I’ve always been QUITE confrontational and have no qualms disagreeing with folks. ;-) But i find I am beginning to mellow lately. Not that i don’t think those things I crusade for aren’t still important, but I am just coming to the knowledge that my “adversaries” are MORE important, and relationship is paramount. If I can’t argue or persuade folks to my POV, perhaps I can LOVE them there. :-)
    Dawn recently posted..Does Discipline Mean to Spank?My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve always been one of those people that rarely confronts directly but gets home and vents you a new one. #badquality

  3. I feel sad that you have suffered at the hands of the ones who call Him Father. :( But you’re right. They think they’re right! They’re convinced of it. And they probably love you and so they want to try to convince you of their truth so they’ll feel like you’re “ok”. And yes, it definitely helps to remember where we have also stood on what we believed to be truth, only later to find out we were wrong. I often wonder what I’ve said or how I’ve caused offence regarding things I was SO sure were true and right. I guess it’s a lesson in being wise with how we speak of what we “know to be true” now hey. Speaking the truth in LOVE. Not something most of us find easy.

    • Jessica says:

      Honestly, few of them probably “love” me, but they certainly would like to change my views to their way of thinking.

  4. Just as our adversaries believe they are right, we do the same. We have to remember that we are all trying to do what we believe God wants us to do. It’s fine to disagree, but when we start judging and insulting we need to step away from the conversation. Now, I believe if you are close to a person (for example, a close friend) you can really dive deeper into personal convictions….if the moment is right.

  5. The longer I ponder the miracle of the gospel, the more I see that love of enemy is not some optional merit badge in advanced, exceptional Christian practice, but rather the very basis itself. We made no greater enemy and no other enemy than God himself and it required the Son of God himself at no lesser expense than the cost of his life to get us back into the family. Why we imagine that we can finesse, negotiate or fudge our way through the inevitable conflicts of life in order to avoid loving our enemy is only attributable to the ever present blinding nature of sin. pvk
    Paul Vander Klay recently posted..Links and Notes for May 8 2012My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      Jesus repeated the bits about loving our enemy enough, he must have really wanted to us be clear on that, huh? :)

  6. Hi,
    We can be highly opinionated in many issues of life. Sometimes are beliefs can be wrong or sometimes it is right but what I do know is that the Bible never errs. So, if somebody disagrees with me on my personal opinions, that’s fine with me. However, to those who don’t believe what the Bible says, I have a responsibility to pray for them so that God’s light will shine on them and remove the veil that prevents them from seeing the truth.
    phil recently posted..Great Christian Songs for MothersMy Profile

  7. I am sorry that so many of us have suffered by those who feel they are right and push their issues so hard. I prefer to agree to disagree and find something different to talk about that we may have in common. It doesn’t always work out that way. I too have had to un-Facebook people (educational choices and our desire to homeschool). I love how point out that even our ‘enemies’ are human too and in that we can sympathize.
    Meaghan recently posted..Weed or Feed? A Dandelion AdventureMy Profile

  8. Sarah Patterson says:

    This post was really good! The rubber bracelet/WWJD comment made me laugh out loud. For real: )

  9. Kathlen E Saunders says:

    I so agree with you! It’s amazing that you said our fight isn’t with other people; it’s with Gods’ enemy. Others haven’t had our experiences, so it’s foolish, on our part, to expect them to have our emotions and to feel about certain isues, like we do. Thank you for pointing that out, because I’ve been having so much trouble just loving these people, who argue with me about everything I feel so strongly about. It occurred to me, after I read your article, that it’s satan I’m angry with. He is the one sittin’ there just stirrin’ it all up and sittin back, laughing when we all argue and fight. I will always TRY to remember what Jesus would do in all circumstances!

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