Demonizing Disagreement

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My aunt recently wrote a blog confessing that, as a Christian, her stance on homosexuality had changed (you can read it here).

Not long before I read her post, my own church had an openly lesbian couple with an adopted daughter join our congregation. The subject of gays and Christianity, or gays in Christianity, or gays vs. Christianity will typically breed heated debate. I was fascinated more by the comments section in my aunt’s post than I was by the blog entry itself, and the discussion swirling around my church (we’re pretty conservative) in regards to our new couple has been equally intriguing.

Today, I’m not discussing my views on homsexuality, whether gays will go to Heaven, or anything like that. I want to ask a question. And this question, though directed at humanity in general, is mostly directed at those of us who call ourselves “Christians.”

When people disagree with us, why do we typically react with such disgust?

It feels like people tend to demonize anyone with opposing arguments. You don’t just disagree with me, you are ignorant and going to Hell because you disagree with me. And now I am disgusted with you because you believe something other than what I have decided is the correct belief.

Whether we’re arguing about homosexuality or abortion or any other hot-button topic, it feels like both sides hate each other. But as Christians, I wonder how we lost sight of John 13:34-35, “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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I don’t see anywhere in that verse (or the rest of the Bible) where it says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as long as you all agree with one another.” When did having the same opinion become a requirement for love in your society? We are to love one another in the same way that Jesus loved the disciples (whom he was saying this to). And he had just finished washing the disciples feet a few verses earlier!

How about this, every time someone disagrees with you on an issue you respond with, “You know, I view things a little differently, but could I wash your feet?”

Let’s put it another way. The stereotypical Christian in America believes getting an abortion is a sin. When that stereotypical Christian encounters a person who is planning to abort their baby, do you think they share the love of Jesus telling them they are a murderer? What would it look like if that person responded out of the two greatest commandments Jesus gave?

“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

The human desire to be right needs to be put aside,  and we need to make our desire to love as Jesus loved the priority. Our hearts as Christians must be to fight for the souls of non-believers, not fight against people that don’t believe what we believe.

2 thoughts on “Demonizing Disagreement

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