We live in a world of individual classrooms, because we get to be taught by the experiences of others. Some of us have endured traumatic events in our lives and because of God’s grace, we have survived, been redeemed, and made completely new in Christ! This isn’t the case for everyone. The very pain and turmoil some have experienced is what led them to turn from God. Because of that, their viewpoint will look quite differently from ours as followers of Jesus.
When we encounter people with a belief that is contrary to ours, we must understand that we’re representing Jesus, and we might be the catalyst God uses to change their lives. This is where truth, covered in grace, comes in. Often, when people disagree with us, our anger rises and we want to defend our beliefs and even our God. It’s in these moments where we can, and should, speak the truth, but simultaneously allow the Holy Spirit to lead us so that we won’t cave into our sinful desires. When we walk according to the Spirit’s leading, we’ll exhibit His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If we find ourselves in a discussion with someone who clearly has different beliefs than us, it’s okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers. As followers of Jesus, we don’t know everything about God. If we did, we’d be Him. But, as Pastor Andy Stanley says, “You don’t have to understand everything to believe in something.” So, be honest and let them know that you’re still learning and growing in your faith.
Ultimately, having people in our lives we don’t agree with actually makes us stronger. If we only surround ourselves with people we always agree with, we’ll never be stretched. And as we learn from others, it’s okay if our viewpoints change. Maybe we hear someone’s viewpoint about a political issue that differs from ours, and we decide that we actually agree with them. But, as followers of Christ, we have to remember that adopting our own version of the truth is not what God has called us to. We always line up our views with a godly perspective. We are to live according to His truth.
As followers of Jesus, are we more passionate about our beliefs on certain hot topics that we forget that we’re to love others? If we’re more concerned with our stance than we are with loving the people God sent His Son to die for, then we have truly missed the mark. These desires can never outweigh our spiritual calling. If they do, we’re glorifying earthly issues instead of glorifying our Heavenly Father.