Let’s Choose the Big Picture
It’s no secret that our world seems more divided than ever. Whether it’s political parties that can’t agree on a nation’s budget or religious groups that spew hatred toward each other, there always seems to be a tension in the relational, spiritual, and political climate of our world.
In this Plan, we’ve discussed several different things to incorporate into our relationships with people we don’t agree with. Loving people because Jesus called us to, showing respect by managing our demeanor, avoiding fruitless arguments, and empathizing with others to see life from their lens are all wise and helpful approaches. It seems too difficult a task to put differences aside, but it isn’t.
We could pre-decide that we’re going to choose people over policies and relationships over rules. What if…
…we exhibited patience?
…we chose not to be offended?
…we quit taking everything so personally?
..we changed the degrading way we talk to others?
…we focused on what we did have in common?
…we chose the big picture?
Let’s not forget that God so loved…the world. Every single soul on this planet, past, present, and future, He loves. While we’ll never have His capacity to love people, we are still called to love others.
Followers of Jesus can’t quote enough Bible verses to force someone to believe in Jesus. What we can do is represent Jesus by showing love, respect, and empathy, all covered with equal parts truth and grace.
At the end of the day, the point of loving people we disagree with is unity. Whether the issue is petty or prominent, we can choose people first. Because if we, as followers of Jesus, want people to know our Savior and Lord the way we do, that’s where we have to start. Let’s represent Jesus well so that others want to know Him. And when they do, the Holy Spirit is quite capable of leading them to adjust any viewpoints that are inconsistent with His truth.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.Romans 8:9-18 NIV
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.Hebrews 12:14 NIV