Today I’m going to talk about a hard subject - a subject many of our political leaders could learn from as well. We have lost our ability to disagree politely and disagree in love. This is a dangerous path for it elevates our individual rights, no matter what those may be, above love and care for our fellow human beings. What did Jesus do with his “right to be right?” He had a right to call down legions of angels to rescue him and thwart his enemies, but he didn’t do that. He gave that “right” away so he could die for us so we could be free. He had more right to live and be right than any of us combined. Why? He made the universe and He made us. He gave up his rights to save mankind from himself. He gave up his rights for love. Love and freedom were his higher calling.
I’ve had several opportunities in the last few weeks to own my right to be right. I’ve had several people disagree with me. I’ve known a few people who made decisions I would not make. I did not throw a fit, tell them how bad they are and try to get them to see it my way. I let them make their choice and I agreeably chose to disagree without laying down my convictions. Guess what? I am also still their friend! Yes, we can have friends that think differently than we do. Yes, we can have friends that believe differently than we do. Yes, we can have friends on the other side of the political aisle. Imagine that!
Some would say I am just being overly “tolerant.” Tolerance is not about tolerating someone’s beliefs and behavior while laying down your own. Tolerance is about keeping your convictions without feeling the need to throw them all over someone else. Tolerance is loving those we disagree with without becoming disagreeable. Tolerance is about discussing things we both may not agree about and doing is civilly and with love and tact. Jesus did this with the rich man and several others throughout scripture who did not want to follow him for whatever the reason may have been. You don’t read about him running after them telling them how bad they are and how they will go to Hell or how they need to “change or else.” So why do we? What gives us the right to do that? We don’t see them as God sees them so what gives us the right to behave so terribly towards others who don’t choose to believe what we believe? This should not be!
What we see in our political arena today is not tolerance, it’s outright unloving, nasty, bullying, hateful discourse – and it doesn’t matter who it’s coming from – the Right or the Left. They have both lost their way. They no longer look at anything from the standpoint of finding middle ground and loving their fellow Americans – it’s all about them and their special interest. Whoa be it unto America if we let this continue! We are on a dangerous path! I would implore you to expect better of your leaders from the President to the most junior members in Congress! They can do better and they must! This discourse is not the discourse of leadership but of immature children as the apostel Paul would have said! This is not the discourse of Christian persons or those who follow Christ as some would attest, this is the discourse of selfish, self-righteous, self-centered men and women! What is in their hearts has come out of their mouths, sadly. This should not be!
Love is our highest calling! It is love that will heal this nation. It is love that heals our neighbors and our friends we disagree with who may be hurting in ways we do not know or understand. It is love that will heal our political fractures. It is love that covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Your highest and first assignment is love, your right to be right comes in last. In eternity, I believe we will be met with many surprises and we will find were never right in the first place. Give up your right to be right and put on love, for love is the greatest commandment and love is the strongest bridge that unites human hearts!
1 Corinthians 3:13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.