This probably won’t be a popular post. There’s an opener for you . . .
I’ve stayed silent over here during one of the most divisive years I’ve ever lived through because truthfully, I don’t know what to say – let alone say it.
Here’s the thing . . . we don’t all have to agree. This is the best thing about living in a country that allows for the freedom of individual voices. You and I don’t have to see things the same way.
But we do have to be respectful, kind and loving about it all.
I admit . . . I haven’t always done this myself. If you want to call me a hypocrite, that’s totally fine. All people are hypocrites. This is one of the most over-used words around.
Just because we know we shouldn’t be envious and we encourage our friends not to envy doesn’t mean we ourselves will never envy. Am I a hypocrite then if suddenly I find myself envious of another?
Maybe. But that also makes me human. A human disabled by an ailment called “the flesh.”
Clearly, it’s been going on for a while because even Paul struggled with being a hypocrite. The Message version of Romans 7:14-16 says it like this:
I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in the tension of grace and truth.
I call it a tension because it’s hard, friends. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult things I strive to achieve every single day. Some days I’m successful. Some days I fail miserably.
If we live with a world-view of too much grace, then anything goes. If we live with a world-view of too much truth, then we become legalistic and like the Pharisees.
Like so much else, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. It’s in the tension between grace and truth.
So if someone has a different viewpoint than your own, this doesn’t make them unloving. It doesn’t make them close-minded. It doesn’t make them a hypocrite. (Though they are, but so are you. See above.)
It just makes them different from you. And that’s OK.
Of course, there is a disclaimer. If the one who you’re disagreeing with is disrespectful, hateful and digging into you personally, well then . . . that’s not someone you can have a safe conversation with about your differences now is it?
But if they are trying to listen to you without jumping to conclusions or judgements, if they are respectful and kind even when you’re at an impasse, if they say things like “I see that perspective but here’s how I see it . . . ” then that’s someone to hold-on to.
Who wants to constantly be surrounded by people who always agree? Growth never happens in this setting.
Growth happens when judgement is removed on both sides. When love is at the forefront on both sides. And when respect is prioritized on both sides.
And both sides win – even if opinions don’t change. Because that’s love, friends.