5 Biblical Reasons to Be Kind to Those with Differing Views
- Amanda Idleman Contributing Writer
- 2020 27 May
There is no doubt about it, we live in a politically polarized world. The headlines evoke strong hardline opinions, social media creates space for our most dogmatic selves to emerge, and diversity of thought is a challenge for most of us.
As Christ-followers how are we supposed to approach those with views different from our own?
It can be easy, especially on the wild west of the internet, to sidestep kindness in favor of touting our beliefs in a less-than-gracious way. It can be hard to not be those who make our own justice in the marketplace of ideas, feeling we have to fight for what we feel is right at all costs.
Passion can cloud our thinking and make us feel harsh and unapproachable to those who are different from ourselves.
How can we grow as Christ-followers without extending kindness?
How can we learn without being willing to listen first?
Love only grows when empathy is a part of our toolbox. To connect with others, they first need to feel safe and heard in our presence. Creating safe spaces for diversity takes effort, self-control, empathy, and mostly a heart of love for all humanity.
Here are five biblical truths to help you grow the skill of showing kindness:
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1. All Humanity Is Loved by GodSlide 1 of 5
So, we should, too. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
This verse is one of the most fundamental scriptures to the Christian faith because it shows God’s unwavering love for all humanity. “World” is used three times in these verses, emphasizing that God came for us all. Whosoever chooses to believe in God is welcomed into God’s great family! In a nutshell, God doesn’t have favorites.
This passage illustrates a key truth for Christians. Human beings come with a wide array of differences, but as Christians, there is one fact that unifies us all: we are all loved by God. The Bible teaches that every person is created with value and purpose. And God wants us all to have a relationship with him.
While we often can become frustrated when others don’t see the world through the same lens we do, that is not God’s view. He sees every person as valuable and loved.
When we approach those different than ourselves, we should view them as Christ does.
God commands us to love others as he loves us in the Bible. John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Believers are called to a very high standard, which requires us to embody the love of Christ with our words and deeds.
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2. The Bible Teaches Treating Others with KindnessSlide 2 of 5
One of the first verses I ever memorized at the urging of my mother (Ephesians 4:32) says,” Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
Kindness does not come naturally to any of us, which is why this verse became the mantra of my mother to me growing up. I still need constant reminders about how I am to treat others. Now as a mom, I’ve begun reciting the same verse to my own children.
In Ephesians, Paul is prescribing that the church show kindness to one another and to the broader world around them.
Kindness is defined as being friendly, generous, and considerate. It does not mean you can’t have a differing opinion or truth from others. But it does define your approach when tackling issues that can incite a passionate response.
Being friendly means you are approachable, others feel that they can engage with you.
Generous means you want to give to those around you. Give them love, offer them the truth, and take a moment to see what their needs are.
Consideration implies a pause, a willingness to listen, and take into account the feelings and perspectives of others.
Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” This is what the people of God should be defined by. What a beautiful picture of a people that exude grace and love!
This should be what we strive for others to see in us when we approach those who are different from ourselves.
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3. God Instructs Us Not to Judge OthersSlide 3 of 5
Part of our difficulty in interacting with those with different views comes from a place of pride that unfairly judges others. Pride tells us that we have the ability to change another person’s heart and mind on our own. Truth is, God is the only one that knows our hearts. Only God has the power to heal the brokenness that sin causes in our hearts and minds.
When we start pushing too hard against the people that don’t see the world around us the same way we do...and we begin to push kindness aside; we are acting out of spiritual anxiety. We’re refusing to believe that God can reach this person or situation without our forceful hand in the matter. Trusting God’s power to work in a situation brings ease to our tone and approach when we don’t agree. We can relax in the confidence that our role is to show love and God’s job is to change hearts.
Romans 2:1 says, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” This warns us against judging others, verse 2 of this chapter adds that only God judges with truth.
Even with our best efforts, we can’t fully see the world with clarity, only God can. God uses kindness to bring us to repentance and wants us to use this same tool to show those around us His love at work through us.
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4. The Bible Instructs Us to Offer a Listening EarSlide 4 of 5
James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” Did you notice this verse says everyone? Imagine how different our world would be if we all were slow to speak and quick to listen? Oh my, how we all need a big dose of this in our world right now.
Simply put, when approaching different views from your spouse on how to properly fold the laundry all the way to differences with others about who we think should be a leader in this world, we should apply this principle as laid out in James.
The church is called to be unified (Ephesians 4:3) and unity is impossible when we are unwilling to pause and hear each other’s perspectives.
Kindness really is best displayed by a willingness to pause and offer a listening ear. This is also the definition of what it means to be empathetic. Empathy pauses and considers others first. The Bible illustrates for us the posture of humility that exudes empathy. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
How many times have you said in an argument with your spouse that you want to be heard, more than you want to be right? It’s a basic human need to feel seen and heard, even when we are struggling or mistaken.
When we give others space to process and truly consider where they are coming from, we can not only respond with kindness but wisdom.
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5. We Are to Follow Jesus’ ExampleSlide 5 of 5
Jesus sets a great example of how we are to approach diverse ways of thinking in our world. Jesus didn’t shy away from interacting with people that were different from himself.
In John 4, we read the story of how Jesus interacted with a Samaritan woman at the well. During that time period Jews did not associate with Samaritans, yet Jesus still asked her for water and went on to share his “living water” (or the message of salvation) with her.
Jesus did a radical thing by sharing not only truth but showing compassion to this woman, whom society had deemed “untouchable.”
Jesus crossed all boundaries of race, wealth, religion, social status, and more. He boldly shared His truth allowing people the grace to freely accept or reject what he had to say. He was never on a mission to push anyone to accept Him that wasn’t freely open to doing so.
We should not let differences be a barrier to engaging with others. John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” God calls us to follow his example of showing love, care, truth, and compassion with all of the world.
Romans 12:10 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” These words embody the mindset we should take on when approaching others. We should be people who find such joy in honoring others, learning who they are, asking about their past, and taking the time to truly hear what others have to say.
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