June 25, 2018
Living Love When We Disagree
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)
Friend to Friend
Living love when we disagree sounds good on paper, but it isn’t easy. We’re different—we have different personalities, preferences, and perspectives. And we can struggle to get along, especially when we don’t see eye to eye. In the course of a day, we can find ourselves disagreeing or debating with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers on social media about everything from food choices and parenting styles to politics and religion. Often we find ourselves divided—even as Christians. How can we work out our differences with humility and grace, always showing the love of Christ, while still remaining true to what we believe?
So who has been irritating you the most lately? Keep that person in the back of your mind and we’ll come back to them in a minute. Paul urged the church in Corinth to “be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10). He essentially called them to live love – even when they disagreed. Chapter 13, known as the love chapter, wasn’t included to be a nice poem for weddings. Instead, it was written to urge Christians living in a pagan and diverse culture to approach one another with the love of Christ. God’s Word calls us to do the same.
Regrettably, we often exercise the opposite of that kind of love, choosing instead to keep a record of wrongs or make rude comments—whether in person or on social media. Jesus prayed that we would experience unity as his body. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
In His prayer, Jesus asked that His followers would be as united as He and the Father are! We can never demonstrate this supernatural love and kindness with those who disagree with us apart from Jesus. Paul acknowledged this truth, mentioning the name of Jesus eight times in the first nine verses of his letter! He knew that we desperately need Christ at the center of our personal lives, including our interactions with others. Our unity comes only through Christ and His love.
Here are some of the main questions the concept of living love has brought up for me:
How can we?
- Deal with our differences in a loving way without compromising our convictions
- Achieve harmony while maintaining our diversity
- Consider the ways that the surrounding culture impacts our beliefs
- Agree to disagree on matters of preference and opinion
- Humbly listen to others with views different than our own
- Embrace ambiguity in some areas, acknowledging that our view is often partial and incomplete
- Demonstrate to all that love is the greatest thing, which never fails
How have you worked through some of these issues? Have you noticed that sometimes Christians can behave unlovingly towards one another, especially online?
Now let’s bring it a little closer to home. So who was that person that came to your mind when I asked who has been irritating you lately? Think about that person right now. How is God calling you to live His love toward them today? We can’t do it without Jesus at the center of our lives can we? Know that I am praying that every person who reads this post would have supernatural power to live love in their midst of their disagreements!
Dear Lord, help us to live Your love. Even though we disagree about many things, we find unity in You. Give us eyes to see others the way You see them. Season our words with Your grace so that even when we land on opposite sides of an issue, we can still value each other and bring honor to Your name.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think again about the person who has been irritating you the most lately. Ask God to give you one tangible way that you can bless that individual today. Perhaps you can give them a word of encouragement, an anonymous gift card, or a secret act of service. As you live love toward them in a practical way, I’d love to hear in the comments how God used your choice to minister to your soul.
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Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. Sign up for her blog on her website today to be entered into a contest to win a free copy of her Bible study First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree at www.melissaspoelstra.com/blog/.
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