Last week, we looked at God’s instructions to His people regarding those who are foreigners and strangers. An examination of scriptures shows that Christians should seek to build bridges, not barriers. We live in a time when emotions regarding political and social issues are running high. Undoubtedly, you will encounter someone who holds a different view on the issues than you. It is important for God’s people to manifest the Spirit of Christ in dealing with those with whom we differ. Here are some considerations as you interact with non-Christians who may hold view that is different from yours.
Seek to understand their perspective. When we strive to understand the other person’s point of view, it makes that person less defensive. Try asking more questions and making fewer statements. Make sure you understand what they are actually saying, and not what you think they are saying.
Do your homework. There is virtually no news source that is unbiased. There are ideologies and agendas that shape what is reported in the media and how it is reported. When possible, get your information directly from the source. If the media is referencing a proposed bill, city ordinance, or executive order, try to read the document itself. You will be able to have more than just a sound bite knowledge of the issues. Your perspective should be informed by the facts. When you examine the facts, you may discover that you actually agree with some of the proposed legislation.
Agree when there is agreement. We begin to build bridges by finding common ground. When you look for agreement, you can build trust and remove barriers. When you start with agreement, it is easier to listen to one another when you disagree.
Have realistic expectations. We do not live in a Christian culture. While scripture shapes our view of the world and morality, that is not the case for everyone. Do not expect people who are not Christians to hold biblical viewpoints. Additionally, don’t expect the government to be an extension of the church.
Remember that Jesus was neither a Democrat nor a Republican. If Jesus came in the flesh to live in 21st century, I doubt that he would endorse either political party. He would likely challenge the moral views of Democrats, while at the same time challenge the hypocrisy of Republicans. He would probably commend the Democrats for their concern for the poor, and the Republicans for their concern for the unborn.
As our nation becomes more and more divided, Christians should serve as peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). We can help facilitate meaningful conversations that remove barriers and build bridges. We should be voices of reason and truth in a world that so desperately need both.
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Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.