I don’t talk politics anymore. It’s not worth losing friendships over. Particularly when people justify their political bent as God’s special party, the absolute only way you can vote to be considered a Jesus follower. Instead, I listen.
What I’ve seen in the political discourse scene has not been loving. Folks just can’t be kind to people who differ.
This is not just a Christian thing; it’s an American thing. I wouldn’t have known this if I’d not lived in France for a few years as a church planter. There, I was shocked at my first dinner party because people shared their boisterous opinions with gusto. I shrunk into myself in those moments, only to realize that my friends would often switch their positions for the sake of an interesting argument.
And then the kicker: when they left the table, they laughed and left as friends. A kiss on each cheek cemented their fond affection.
It was then that I realized that American have this innate need to be right. And in order to be right, the person with the opposite or different perspective must be wrong, must become a villain, a foe. I realized I’d subscribed to this mindset, particularly in my zealous twenties where I could not see another opinion as valid. I tied my own political beliefs to the Bible (which is interesting because I still do tie my beliefs to God’s Word, yet my political opinions have changed.) And I couldn’t see how a different opinion had validity.
What’s behind all this need to be right?
Because if I’m not “right,” something about me must be wrong. And being wrong means I’m not complete, or perhaps even unlovely or unlovable.
In my recent book, Everything, I explore this idea when I talk about the irresistibility of Jesus. Every single person He met had flaws. Every single one of them had an unholy opinion. With that in mind, do you see Jesus forcing His way? How did He treat people? Did He yell at people with differing political opinions? Does shouting, pouting, ranting, and demonizing others represent Jesus?
Consider this quote from Everything:
“The litmus test is this: How well do we love those who differ from us? I’d venture to say that God will not hold us accountable for our political bent or fervor as much as He’ll call us to account for the way we love those who hold a different view. We are to be as Jesus was (and is and is to come): irresistible sources of life. Do others flock to us for sustenance? Or do they back away from us because we’ve created impenetrable boundaries around us? What would it look like if we viewed everyone as a fellow pilgrim on a difficult, earthly journey? What if we loved them enough to welcome discord and different opinions?” (171).
I have Christian friends who are Republicans, Independents, Democrats and Libertarians. And Jesus loves all of them with a deep, fond, wild affection. If I denigrate them, I touch someone beautiful that Jesus loves. As I walk further in my Jesus journey, learning to give everything to Him, I’ve found more joy, less need to be right, and more affection for folks. That’s the power of making Jesus your everything. Suddenly fear has no place. Other people’s opinions don’t pose a threat.
Others have joined this everything journey, sharing their moments of giving Jesus everything so they can experience this kind of grace and love He offers. I pray this video blesses you.
Question: What do you think? When have you had a positive political discussion with a friend? Why do you think the discourse, particularly on the Internet, is full of vilifying others?