Theology & Life

Loving Across the Ideological Fence

When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves in Mark 12:31 (and other places), he didn’t mean your literal neighbor. He wasn’t saying, “You need to love those who live next to you, but you can hate those outside your demographic.” Jesus’s call to love our neighbor is a call to love everyone.

Everyone including those who have a different ideology than you.

To preface this, though, we must understand what the word ideology means. Ideology simply refers to “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.” Ideology, in one sense, is synonymous with worldview. It’s a way of looking at the world, society, and how we think things should be.

And we are living in a time when our ideological differences are tearing us apart. Divisions are running rampant, strife is wrecking havoc, and relational turmoil is out of control. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As Christians, we can at least do our part of loving those with whom we disagree—even vehemently.

Our culture has lost the art of loving one another even amid disagreement. Most of society says, “If you think differently than me, we can’t be friends.” But as Christians, that must not be our attitude. We must love those across the ideological fence because God commands us to. It is possible, even necessary, to develop relationships with those whom we disagree.

Society and the mainstream media tries so hard to pit everybody against one another. And they are successful for the most part. Christians must resist this. We must not cave into the cultural pressure of hating those who don’t see things the way we do. Again, we must love those on the other side.

Ultimately, we want to see those on the other side of the fence come to Christ. We want to see conversions and non-Christians becoming Christians. But in the meantime, as a fellow human being, we must love them because we are all created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). There are no exceptions.

The command to love our neighbor isn’t negated if your neighbor is a liberal atheist who supports abortion. The command to love your neighbor doesn’t go away because your neighbor supports the LGBTQ movement.

The command to love doesn’t discriminate.

Of course, we must remember that to love doesn’t mean unconditional approval. This is where society goes horribly wrong. It’s more than possible to truly love others with whom you disagree. Matter of fact, it’s what makes society flourish. And that’s why we’re seeing mass chaos in our culture today because the prevailing consensus is if you don’t agree, then we have to hate each other.

Even still, we Christians are called to love. Not approve without question; not turn a blind eye; not compromise our convictions. But love with the love of Christ. Love others because they’re made in God’s image—no matter their background, socioeconomic status, policies so affiliations, or the like. We will not love perfectly, but we must love intentionally.

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