For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17 (CSB)
When I log on to social media, I am quickly reminded how much I’m polarized by politics and theology. My instinct is to jump in and either defend or attack depending on the situation. It’s as if God’s commandments for how we’re to lovingly treat one another don’t apply to our political and theological differences. I don’t want my theo-political allegiances to override my neighborly obligations. But how?
In 1 John 4:20, we read, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.”
While many of us wouldn’t want to describe our posture toward another as hateful, how many of us harbor contempt, dislike, or ill will toward our political opponents? If we do, honesty demands we admit we are guilty of hate. It’s only in confessing our sin of hatred that we will be healed and set free in Christ to better love others.
It makes one wonder how on earth Jesus’ twelve disciples grew in their love for one another given the likelihood they held different political views. I have a hunch that through the power of the Holy Spirit, fellowship with one another, suffering together, observing Jesus’ life, and by personally experiencing Christ’s love, they saw that their obligation to love one another was more important than their political disagreements.
As they spent time with Jesus, they discovered the nature of the kingdom is not centered on political and theological tribalism, one-upping one another, or constant division. Instead as Paul says in Romans 14:17b, the kingdom of God is characterized by “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” — what they saw in Jesus.
Let’s be intentional with our words, speaking words that encourage and uplift those around us, including those who may believe differently.
This message was written by Marlena Graves and appears in A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You in Your Everyday Mess from the (in)courage community.
It’s only in confessing our sin of hatred that we will be healed and set free in Christ to better love others. -@MarlenaGraves: Click To Tweet