Matthew 5:25-26 (NKJV)25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Now let's change the word adversary to "the person with whom you disagree".
Now let’s read it again
Agree with "the person with whom you disagree" quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest "the person with whom you disagree" deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Reading it that way does not change the meaning or context of the statement.
Jesus was even more specific than that at another time. When He was asked what was the greatest commandment;
Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
To make it even more plain, He went on to describe, with a parable, exactly who that neighbor we are to love is. In His parable that neighbor actually turns out to be an enemy, or "the person with whom you disagree". The parable is the one that we know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:35-47).
The only way that we can love many people with whom we disagree, is through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will produce godly characteristics or fruit in you.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Let’s start looking at what has gone on in 2020 and a lot has gone on this year, as an opportunity. An opportunity to show that we can even love the unlovable, the ones with whom we disagree.
God’s purpose for us to conform to the image of His Son Jesus, who is the embodiment of LOVE.
Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV)28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
What matters to God is our love for Him and our love for each other. Wealth, power and status count for nothing in the kingdom of God. When we truly love our neighbors, we do our part to make the world a better place, and we find our own fulfillment in life.
Romans 12:18-21 NKJV If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine , I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore “if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head”. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I read a post, a few days ago, written by Melanie Campbell that gives us five ways to show love to those with whom we disagree. To read the entire post follow this LINK
As Christians, we are not called to argue every topic and post our stances as statuses on social media. We are called to love others and be peacemakers.
Matthew 5:9 NKJV Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
But how do we accomplish this with someone we strongly disagree with?
We can look to Scripture for guidance. In 1 Corinthians 13, we read what love is—and what it is not:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
However, reading about something and actually putting it into action are two different things. Below are five ways we can walk out loving those with whom we disagree.
James 1:19-20 NKJV So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
We cannot say we are showing love if we do not first listen to what the other person has to say. While many people think they are listening, they are not listening with the right mindset or heart.
First, we must listen to understand, not argue. That means not only letting the other person speak, but also keeping ourselves from jumping to conclusions or thinking of what we are going to say next. When someone else is stating an opinion they feel passionately about, we need to listen with our mind, heart and spirit. Our goal in listening should not be to find points of argument, but instead we should look for things we have in common.
Proverbs 18:13 NKJV He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.
Another thing to keep in mind while listening is that our goal should also be to understand the heart of the person beyond their opinion. Strong positions on topics are often backed up not only by convictions but by past experiences. When we listen for the intent behind what a person says, we can find the source of the opinion they hold and thereby understand them better. When someone feels understood, they most often will also feel loved.
Romans 12:9-13 NKJV Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
2. Be Humble
Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Humility is shown by the willingness to acknowledge we aren’t always right or that there might be a better way. We can only learn from others when we have enough respect for them to consider what they have to say. In other words, we must see others as more significant than we are and, we must be willing to admit when we are wrong.
Proverbs 9:7-10 NKJV ““He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
When we read this Scripture, our minds may immediately go to the mockers and wicked people we know, and so we interpret it to be instruction on how we should deal with them. While this is a valid point, we should also look in the mirror.
Are you a mocker…or are you a wise person? A clue to the answer is how you respond to criticism. Do you listen and try to learn from it, or do you automatically defend yourself, quick to be spew an insult or sarcastic comment in return?
Those responses do not show wisdom. They are not love and do not create peace.
3. Grieve With The Brokenhearted
Psalms 34:18 NKJV The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
There are situations when we need to simply be present with those who are hurting, even if we cannot fully understand their pain. This might make us uncomfortable, especially if the pain seems to come from a vastly different point of view than ours. But if we are to be Christ-like in our love, our hearts should break with theirs.
The Bible is full of lamentations to God (the book of Job, many of the Psalms.) We can show love to those we disagree with if we come beside them in times of pain, despite our differences, and mourn with them.
Ephesians 4:29 NKJV Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Being with the brokenhearted helps us to empathize with their struggles. Understanding what they are experiencing can lead to compassion for them. From that perspective, we have the opportunity to love them by encouraging them with words of hope.
Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Praying for those we disagree with – including those who have hurled insults at us or who are so far from our point of view it feels like they live on a different planet – is what we are commanded to do. When we pray for our enemies, God may change them, but He is more likely to change us. This doesn’t mean our opinions will change, but it does mean we are likely to have more peace about the situation.
When we sincerely pray for others, it’s nearly impossible for a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts toward them. Instead of being quick to respond unkindly to our enemy, we can draw upon our relationship with God to respond to them with love and wisdom.
Proverbs 15:1-2 NKJV “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
5. Rejoice in the Truth
John 8:31-32 NKJV Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
What if all attempts to show love and make peace with those we disagree with still brings nothing but strife?
We can’t control how another person responds to us — we can only control how we treat them. This can be especially heartbreaking when we are dealing with an unsaved person. We so desperately want them to know God. But you can’t argue someone into salvation. What we can do is put our faith in God. When we rejoice in God’s truth, despite the circumstances, we are demonstrating not only faith but love.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
When we pray for those we disagree with, we shouldn’t pray that they will come to see our way, but that they would know God’s truth: that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. Our ultimate hope should be to see the person who opposes us in heaven, free from the trials and sins of this world. When we take an eternal perspective toward those we disagree with, we can be assured we are behaving as followers of Christ, and not as a spokesman for the issue of the day.
The Choice Is Yours
No matter what the issue of the day may be, we will always have someone who either opposes our position or who believes something that rankles us. Instead of getting angry, taking offense, or pridefully defending our point of view, we can intentionally choose to show patience, love and goodwill. When we do, we are doing far more to change the world than posting a soon forgotten meme on Facebook.
Colossians 3:12-14 NKJV Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.