Give Yourself to Others …

How do you express love toward someone when you seriously disagree with them?

Posted on: 2007/01/02

Jesus never said this “loving” business would be easy. It’s anything but easy. And the question I’ve posed in the title of this post is just one example of how difficult it can be.

And I suppose the answer to the question lies in the manner of the disagreement.

It’s possible to get emotional and irrational when you disagree with people — especially if the topic of the disagreement focuses on deeply held beliefs — and that describes what most of us believe about spiritual matters — they are deeply held beliefs.

This is the moment to recall Romans 14:4 (NIV) – “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.”

That is to say, God is your judge. And God is the judge of everyone else. You are not their judge. They are not your judge.

And my relationship with God is not based on how many people believe the same as I believe. It is not a popularity contest. It is not majority rules.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 [NIV]).

Our relationship with God is his gift to each of us. All he asks of us our faith. And Gods gift to me is not dependent upon his gift to you. Nor is yours dependent upon his gift to me.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15 [NIV])

You need to know what you believe why you believe it. It must be your faith, not the faith of your “church” or the faith of your “evangelist” or the faith of your “pastor” or the faith of your spouse.

Your faith.

If your faith is your own, then you can disagree without being disagreeable. You can give yourself to others for their good expecting nothing in return.

After all, isn’t that what Jesus did. He loved all of us so much he died for us — all of us — even the ones who didn’t believe in him then, and those who don’t believe in him now. Certainly, he died for all of us who believe in him, but disagree about how to understand what the New Testament teaches.

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