For too long, I’ve been a willing participant in resorting to ad-hominem style arguments against those I disagree with. Whether it’s those I disagree with politically, spiritually, or even on the topic of whether or not Alabama is the greatest football team in the country (which they are), I’ve previously been content with just characterizing them as “idiots” or “morons” and moving on with my life. However, Scripture teaches that this is not how those situations should be handled.
Undoubtedly you have heard the Biblical phrase “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the greatest commandment, along with loving the Lord with everything we have. But think about it: how often do we actually practice this?
Too often I scroll through Twitter or Facebook and see “Christians” aggressively arguing over political beliefs. During the course of these exchanges, you will probably see the phrases “libtard” or “Right-Wing nut job” used at some point, depending on who is arguing. Setting aside for a moment the lunacy of arguing on social media, think about what these actions make non-Christians think of Christ followers. Honestly, we should be fostering calm, intelligent debate instead of heated, ad-hominem laced exchanges that lead absolutely nowhere.
Going along with this, too often we condemn others without a second thought. We think that we are justified in such actions because we are Christians and therefore we are somehow better than them. Reality check: we are not and never will be. According to James, the only one with the authority to judge is God.
For too long now, many Christians have been ruining their witness on social media because of their angry tirades on social media. I do not pretend to be guilt free in this situation since I was once the same way. Now, we have the opportunity to change that.
Instead of despising those we disagree with, let’s focus on respectfully disagreeing and showing the love of Christ to those who do not share our opinions. This election presents an incredible opportunity to support meaningful discussion and debate, instead of the usual forms of petty arguing.
With the politically, socially and spiritually divided culture that we live in today, it is incredibly important for Christians to be the ones that show love to everyone, no matter their beliefs. If Jesus in his final moments on this earth could ask God to forgive those who persecuted, beat and mocked him, then I am absolutely sure that we can do our best to love those we disagree with. We can and should be different, as shining lights in the darkness of the political world today.