Has America Forgotten How to Disagree?

If you have been watching the news much lately you probably know just how rare it is to see something positive. More than likely what you have seen is hate, anger and violent disagreement.

The problem seems to be that disagreement cannot simply remain just that – a disagreement.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the current Presidential race.

Presidential candidates are calling each other 3rd grade names and insulting one another’s spouses. Supporters and media members are being punched, choked and body slammed. Streets are being shut down and political rallies cancelled – all because America has truly forgotten how to disagree.

It isn’t just the presidential race dividing our nation though. We are divided by a host of other things as well – black vs. white, conservatives vs. liberals, pro-gun vs. anti-gun, pro-life vs. abortion, homosexual marriage vs. traditional marriage. The list could go on and on.

With all of that in view – it’s easy to form an outlook that says this world is just simply “headed to hell in a hand basket” and there is no hope. And with that, I have to disagree. I do believe we can learn how to disagree, but doing so will first require us to learn how to love.

Learning How to Love

Saying that we need to learn how to love may sound a little bit elementary to you, but the kind of love I am talking about is anything but. When I say “love” I’m not talking about getting the warm and fuzzies. I am talking about unconditional love.

The Bible refers to this kind of love in the Greek as “agape.”  It is the love that God has for humanity. A love so great that it led to the sacrifice of His one and only Son for our sins. What is shocking is that this is exactly the kind of love that is referred to in verses instructing us to love our enemies and our neighbors. (Matthew 5:44)

Agape love is unconditional and unchanging. It isn’t a feeling; it is a choice. It is possible even in disagreement, even in anger and even in bitterness. This kind of love is our only hope for respectful disagreement because agape love doesn’t require agreement. In fact, agape love doesn’t require anything. This kind of love is possible simply because of obedience and the decision to see the God-likeness in every human being.

If you have a hard time believing that something so abstract could create such a massive impact – you need only to look at the cross of Christ and the impact that His unconditional love is making today, thousands of years later.

His love has been the catalyst for the changing of millions of lives. Not to mention the inspiration for such historical movements as the Civil Rights.

Without unconditional love, our nation would simply not be place of freedom and equality that it is today.

It’s Just As Much Us, As It Is ‘Them’

When our command as Christians is to love our enemies unconditionally – I think it is evident that we are failing in that area just as badly as anyone else on this earth. And that is the true problem we face.

There are some policies that I believe should not be supported in our nation, but alienating the opposing side is not going to change the current policies. In fact, it doesn’t matter which side you are on – if you choose to promote your opinion with hate or physical force you are not going to change anything or anyone.

We must speak out against the policy and love the people – unconditionally.

Drawing lines isn’t a solution, it’s segregation.

Whenever lines were drawn in scripture Jesus generally crossed them –

For the tax collector.

For the adulterous woman.

For the unclean and the unseen.

Jesus disagrees with sin, but Jesus is always willing to cross lines to reach sinners.

While not easy, it is possible to hold firm to your beliefs and at the same time love those you disagree with – Jesus is proof of that. Let us not be fooled that politics or protests will bring the change we need as a nation. Unconditional love is our only option, but it also the only option we truly need.

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