Bible Verse: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.” 1 John 4:7a
As elections are fast approaching, debates are heating up across the nation. No matter where you are or what you believe, one doesn’t need to look far to find political division. At a time when controversial discussions are high, love can run low. It can be hard to disagree with someone politically and still love them unconditionally. Our feelings of contempt, frustration, indifference, or fear can sometimes cause us to say things we normally wouldn’t or lash out against others in ways we aren’t proud of. So, how can we navigate this season of charged political conversations? How can I show people I love them, even if they support political candidates I don’t? Below are a few thoughts on where we can start:
1. Remember that Everyone Has Intrinsic Worth—God lovingly created the person you disagree with. He made that person, every person, in His image. Every person you walk by, drive by, agree with, disagree with, interact with or think about, every single person on this earth was created by our Creator. Jesus gave His life for them, loves them, and calls us to love them too. Choose to show love and respect, even when it’s difficult; to humanize, not demonize.
2. Listen to Learn—Be willing to step into another persons’ shoes. Listen to how someone else sees and experiences the world. Ask questions and, instead of preparing your rebuttal, listen to the answers shared. You may not completely understand or come to agree with them, but that’s okay because that’s not the goal. The goal is to listen with the intent of learning. We can do more than tolerate those with whom we disagree, we can grow by choosing to learn from others. Show someone you love them by choosing to listen without judgment.
3. Stay Humble—As much as we all hate to hear it, we aren’t always right and we don’t know it all. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. And the person who disagrees with you isn’t perfect. Having loving relationships is more important that declaring your “rightness.” We can choose to love by setting ego aside and remembering that the other person brings something to the table too.
4. Filter Social Media—Social media often only adds fuel to the fire when it comes to politics. We must carefully choose what we will spend our time and energy on. You don’t have to respond to every political post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform. Instead of getting more riled up in anger and contempt, choose to keep scrolling and not waste your energy. If need be, unfollow anyone who is too politically charged. You don’t want to compromise a relationship with someone over a political disagreement, it’s not worth it.
As Christ-followers, we are called to love all people, not just the ones who are easy to love. Choose to be intentional, pray for a willing heart, and try to implement some of the above suggestions. My prayer for us all is that when we interact with others this political season, they will know we are Christians by our love.