Day 4 of 5 of How to Love People You Disagree With
Join us as Andi and I read through this daily devotional.
Grace and Truth
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.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
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.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”Romans 8:5-15 NLT