Oh, my friends, it’s ugly out there and I’ll admit, I have times when it really upsets me!
Groups are fighting, families arguing, neighbors feuding and relationships ending.
So, I have a question for us to consider…
As followers of Jesus, how can you and I disagree with a friend without hateful words and broken relationships?
5 Important Things to Do Before You Disagree
You knew prayer would be first. It’s always first.
Without God’s help through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will never communicate peacefully with one another. So, we need to prayerfully ask God to guide our thoughts and give us the words He wants us to speak. With God’s help we can make being loving more important that winning.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.Psalm 143:8
You’ve heard the old saying, “Listen to understand not to respond.”
Ask the person with whom you disagree the “why” behind their beliefs and hear what they have to say. Listen to the feelings behind the words. Maybe today they need patience and kindness more than criticism and condemnation.
Anyone who answers without listening is foolish and confused. The mind of a person with understanding gets knowledge; the wise person listens to learn more.Proverbs 18:13,15 (NCV)
When it’s time to speak we need to choose our words carefully.
What we say and how we say it is important. We are called to speak God’s truth not just our opinions, and do it with gentleness and respect.
Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect.1 Peter 3:15 (NLV)
Following Jesus means that love must be our greater priority.
This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, and that we love each other, just as he commanded.1 John 3:23 (NCV)
Paul wrote that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Then, when we know the truth from God’s Word and we’ve prayed and spoken gently and respectfully with love we can surrender the rest to God. We don’t have to get angry or argumentative or ugly because we can trust the Holy Spirit to do the convicting and convincing.
It’s not up to you and me. God is on the throne. He is who He says He is and He is able to accomplish His will.
A Prayer for God’s Help
When You Disagree with a Friend
Father, there is so much divisiveness and ugliness in the world today. I realize that although it seems intensified at the moment, it’s really not new. Through Your Son, Jesus, You told people not to judge one another (Matthew 7:1). You said that Your people would be persecuted (Matthew 5:10). You explained the importance of working for peace (Matthew 5:10) And You commanded us to love one another (John 15:12).
It’s hard, Father. Your children are being judged and persecuted and it’s tempting to respond with snark and anger rather than peace and love. Please forgive us. Please forgive me.
Fill us with Your Spirit and help us when we disagree. Help me to spend more time with You in Word and prayer that I might KNOW, TRUST, and LOVE You and Your truth. Help me listen with a heart of love. And help me speak in ways that encourage my friends to want to KNOW, TRUST, and LOVE you and Your truth, too.
Please give me wisdom and strength. Make me patient and kind. Make me like Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Honestly, I can rant my opinions with the best of them. Just ask those closest to me. But recently I was convicted by these words from Proverbs…
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted. Proverbs 12:15–16
The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive. Proverbs 16:21
Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Provers 29:11
I don’t want to be a fool.
I want to be winsome for Jesus. When I disagree with a friend, I still want them to know how much God loves them. I want them to know I love them. I don’t want them to feel defensive or unloved because I’ve judged them.
I don’t have to agree, but with God’s help, I can pray, listen and love before I speak trusting the Lord to work His will His way.
♥ before you or I write that snarky comment on social media…
♥ before we go off on Uncle Henry at the next family gathering…
♥ before we tell a coworker he’s a fool…
♥ before we write off a whole group of people as sinners…
♥ before we openly judge someone in leadership…
♥ before we ___________…
Let’s pray, listen, speak the truth with love, and leave the rest to God. Let’s commit to being catalysts for change refusing to wait for someone else to go first.
May God be with you, help you, and bless you when you disagree with a friend. May He help us all to make loving like Jesus the priority.
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