The Lost Art of Mutual Respect

In the midst of political, social, and racial turmoil, I was reminded today of a foundational truth of Scripture: all people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).

It’s no surprise that this year has been chaotic due to an election year. From hearing about the latest Trump tweet to Biden’s VP pick, the election is grabbing hold of our attention and not letting go.

Add to that the death of George Floyd — setting aside looking at his death objectively and whether it was justified or not — which set off a myriad of peaceful protests and riots.

And trust me, we cannot forget about the biggest one of all: the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘rona has created a firestorm of hot takes and the stockpiling of hand sanitizer and toilet paper (stop that, people). It’s also created a massive amount of fear in the American people.

All three of these events are on the news literally every minute of the day. That isn’t to say it’s an inherently bad thing. It’s okay to be interested in politics. It’s perfectly fine to be involved in social justice issues, per se. It’s normal to want to stay up to date with the latest coronavirus news.

With that being said, I fear we as humans have lost the underestimated art of respecting others. It’s as if you can’t have mutual respect for somebody who doesn’t share your exact viewpoint. Has our society really gotten to the point that we can’t peacefully have our own opinions and not insult each other for having them?

Let me take it a step further: it grieves me to see Christians acting this way. Allow me to give you an example.

I have seen Christians publicly ridicule, make fun of, and insult the intelligence of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. Let me say clearly that I believe that is downright sinful. Don’t get me wrong, I abhor the politics of Biden and Pelosi. Most everything the Democratic stands for, I stand against.

However, their political views shouldn’t dictate whether I love them or not. Christian, you’re not commanded to simply respect Biden or Pelosi: you’re commanded to love them. You should love your neighbor as yourself, and your neighbor is everybody.

Oh, how I pray we can get back to where we all can disagree with respect and understanding. Christians, we have a bigger responsibility here as God has called us to be like Christ. This will involve us resisting the urge to ridicule or to bash; to insult or to laugh at.

Christians, love your enemies. Do good to those who wrong you. Don’t return evil for evil. Be witnesses of the love of Christ. Preach the gospel and proclaim the good news of Jesus–never forget that foundation. No matter how bad the politics, no matter how outrageous the hypocrisy, may we never forget to love them regardless.

Because Christ loved us.

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