Discussing anything related to politics or predestination is not for the faint of heart these days. Lines have been drawn and each side has armed themselves with shrewd arguments, fierce rebuttals, and quotations of Bible verses. These tough topics warrant conversation. They are close to our hearts and affect how we perceive the world around us. They cause us to ask questions regarding who God is and what we believe he like. They lead us to wonder what kind of world we want for the future and what virtues and values are most important

Intelligent, thoughtful, and upstanding Christians settle on each side of these debates—as well as many others—but it’s unfortunately common for discourse to become dangerous, revealing a more significant matter at hand. Our dialogue can evidence a weightier problem—one indicative of our hearts. Do we choose to love like Jesus, even within our disagreement?

Staunchly camped on a position, we need to offer both a sincere attempt to understand and our compassion. This doesn’t mean we can’t disagree. The diversity of the church body within it unity is something that Paul celebrates in his letter to the Corinthians. These tensions we live in and the opinions we wrestle with drive us closer to the truth, but we’ll never get there if our pursuit of truth is not saturated by grace.

There are two things we must keep in mind if we’re going to be people who lovingly disagree:

1 // Remember you’re talking to a person.
You’re not just talking about an issue. You’re speaking to a person with fears and hopes and whom Jesus called you to love, especially if you perceive him or her as an enemy.

2 // Forget about winning the argument.
Winning an argument pales in comparison to sustaining the relationship. If your disagreement causes a permanent rift in the relationship, you might need to return to your friend or family member in humility and apologize.

Above all else, we are called to be faithful followers of Jesus, and he did not say, “They will recognize you by your ability to argue well.” Instead, he told his followers, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35).” Those around us—on the inside and the outside of the church—will only recognize our affiliation with him if we were characterized by our love towards one another. Whichever opinions you hold or affiliations you choose, decide first to follow the example of Jesus who loved even his enemies.