Be Nice To Those With Whom You Disagree

 

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

 

2 Comments

Filed under Relationships

2 responses to “Be Nice To Those With Whom You Disagree

  1. Many do not know, or else do not care to apply the following: Hate sin, but love the sinner.

  2. Stephen Segrest

    Dear Ken,
    I continue to pray that somehow you will have a “Road to Damascus” awakening on LGBT people. The problem for years is the point that you have no idea where I am coming from. As I’ve stated repeatedly, this has absolutely nothing to do with the issue of sin and homosexuality. This has and continues to be how you treat others. You talk often how Christians are persecuted by the “horrible political left” but never the “political right’s” actions (e.g., social media hate). Also, so much hypocrisy on the “one-man, one-woman argument”, where for example, the staggering divorce rate of Christians is no different than the general population. As to victims — what about that in about one-half of States (overwhelmingly in the Bible Belt), a LGBT person can be fired from their work simply because they are gay (case that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court). For around 20 years many Christians (like myself) supported the concept of non-religious “civil unions”. The vast majority of Christians did not support this (argument of not wanting to encourage these sinful people). Thus, there was no pathway other than the legal marriage route. I strongly believe the Morman Church has it “exactly right” on this issue where they strongly hold to their long-held beliefs of homosexuality and sin. However, they are very vocal (especially to Federal, State, and Local government officials) that there must be no hurtful laws to gays. Being kind and the Golden Rule is not being practiced by most Evangelicals in the South (e.g., accepting and supporting laws that allow job discrimination based on being gay — or deafening silence to remove hurtful laws).

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