Ellen DeGeneres, the comedian, and talk show host has been at the center of a raging controversy all week.
DeGeneres was photographed last Sunday at a Dallas Cowboys football game sitting in the owner’s box with former President George W. Bush. As a result, she has taken some serious criticism from many in Hollywood, the LGBT community specifically and the far left in general for being with someone who is her opposite politically and morally.
Ellen responded on her show saying, “I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have…but just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them.”
Later she added, “When I say, ‘Be kind to one another’, I don’t mean only the people who think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter.”
It’s interesting that only DeGeneres is receiving wide-spread flak for this friendship and not President Bush. It’s ironic in the sense that the left constantly cries for tolerance. They often condemn Christians, especially over our stand against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, but they are intolerant over Ellen just sitting with a social and political conservative at a football game.
In response, President Bush said that he appreciated Ellen’s comments about respecting one another.
It seems that our country is polarized over social, political and moral issues more than any time I can remember during my lifetime. While we don’t agree with Ellen’s lifestyle choice, we can appreciate her reminder that we can be nice to people with whom we disagree and even be friends.
As Christians, we can learn something from Ellen and President Bush’s example. Here are three Bible principles that speak to our relationships with others. Even those whose lifestyle we believe is wrong.
1) Be Respectful.
This Bible principle is seen in many commands regarding relationships but is succinctly stated in I Peter 2:17, “Show proper respect to everyone.” It is possible to disagree with another’s position or practice, yet accord them respect them as one of God’s fellow creatures. Respect involves honor, esteem, and deference to others. It values others. Treats them with dignity. And is gracious.
(2) Be kind.
The Bible says, “Love is kind” (1 Cor 13:4). The Apostle Paul exhorted, “Be kind to one another” (Eph 4:32). The character of the Christian is to be clothed in kindness (Col. 3:12). Among the nine qualities called “the fruit of Spirit” is kindness (Gal. 5:22).
It’s so easy to be unkind, to speak sharply, and to act in a way that lacks civility and common courtesy. Our fleshly nature is filled with pride, selfishness and an exaggerated sense of our own importance. These are enemies of kindness.
In a world that is often insensitive, cold and calloused, Christians are called upon to be different. As we interact with others, even those with whom we disagree, we can be nice. Be considerate. Be caring. Be loving. Be patient. And be friendly.
(3) Apply the “Golden Rule.”
When we disagree, an application of Jesus’ challenge in Matthew 7:12 ought to help. “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Attacking the person instead of addressing the issue does not answer the argument.
The apostle Paul offered this inspired instruction on the way we should interact with non-Christians “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col. 4:5-6)
Respect, kindness and equitable treatment of others is right. Not because they are wrong. Or even right. But because they’re a human being created in the image of God.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman