Healing the Great Division: How to Love Those Who Don’t Think Like Us

[fa icon="calendar"] January 30, 2017 / by Andrew Burchett

By: Andrew Burchett, Lead Pastor at Neighborhood Church of Chico

heart shape with band aid I have been pondering the growing divide in our nation as I read news stories and drive downtown to see people with signs walking about. There is clearly a great deal of emotion associated with the election, those who have been elected and the perceptions of what that might mean for future policy.  

The older I get, the more steady I am as far as reacting to current events. With a high view of sovereignty, I sometimes retreat to a familiar place of prayer and giving it to my Heavenly Father. Those of you who know me well would say that I can almost always see the bright side of things and I expect God to move and work despite me, or any other leader that may be elected, and you would be right.  

My theology doesn’t expect things in this world to get better, or for our laws to change so that the hearts of people will change. Laws don’t bring about heart change. I do like laws that line up with God’s Word, but I’m not expecting our president and his team to single handedly usher in the millennial kingdom. 

Having said all that…I am concerned that we learn in this season how to love those who don’t think like us.  

Some of the more liberal thinkers among us are afraid to share their concerns about our current president, for fear that they will be shunned for questioning “God’s choice” for our leader. I think they are wrestling with moral concerns and issues of social justice.  

Some of the more conservative thinkers among us are touting the results of this election as God’s way of finally setting everything and everyone straight and are viewed as prideful, boastful and unattractive. Other conservative thinkers are afraid to admit they voted for this president because of the labels that others may place on them (unintelligent, racist, etc). 

I know everyone doesn’t fit into those characterizations -- but here’s my point:  

We have an opportunity to learn how to love others who don’t see things the same way that we do. That doesn’t mean we have to let go of our distinctions or compromise on what is true. It's critical, however, as leaders in this season that we speak with grace, that we listen well, that we ask good questions, and have healthy dialogue.  

My big concern this week has been for the younger generation especially, who have spent much of their young lives (the past 8 years) under a more liberal president -- I have heard from several of them that they feel like the bottom has dropped out of the future -- in part because they don’t know what this new leadership can or will do to change things that they value.  

Will we truly be fathers and mothers and listen to these people who are in our midst and really struggling? Can we hang in with them and not dismiss their feelings as “soft,” “just fearful,” or “uninformed?” Can we be honest enough to say that in this season it really is more about trusting the Lord than the government? Will we be willing to truly consider what they're saying and honor them with a truly compassionate heart? 

Just an encouragement to you as you post on social media, have conversations at Starbucks and even chat with others in the grocery store line. These are great opportunities to love. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ has a wonderful opportunity in this season to live out HIS command to love one another.

Topics: Better Together, Equipping