Agree to Disagree

, by Christopher D. Hudson

The defense of one’s political and moral viewpoints has become something akin to a blood sport in our culture. Social media sites and online comments sections are especially brutal battlefields. Some attacks are so vicious, so vitriolic, that the knee-jerk reaction is to respond with an equal level of venom. Anything less, it seems, is tantamount to surrender.

In the end, little is accomplished by such responses aside from the sacrifice of biblical principles. The damage that can be done in the defense of Christian ideals and principles is staggering.

The Bible sets forth guidelines that sanction such interaction—guidelines that establish civility as the bare minimum that Christians owe their antagonists.

“Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king” (Ecclesiastes 9:17).

Quiet words are words that don’t inspire anger in others. Quiet words ease antagonism and allow real dialogue to occur.

“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips” (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV).

Gracious words acknowledge the worth of people with whom you disagree. Acknowledging people’s worth makes it more difficult to insult or attack them later.

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.

Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11–12).

Sometimes being attacked for holding a certain view or defending a certain Christian principle is a badge of honor.

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell” (Matthew 5:21–22).

God holds his people to an incredibly high standard of behavior.

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow” (Matthew 5:38–42).

Those who have experienced grace should be the first ones to extend it. Leave revenge to the only One who knows how to repay evil.

I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.

1 comment:

  1. I am comforted by the truth of God's Word. It stands fast and gives me answers to my dailey needs and strengthens me to continue, even when I am treated badly by so called friends and church families.