Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
I have heard this quote before, but it rings even more true currently when differing opinions seem to be more numerous than ever. Moreover, we all seem extra sensitive these days. When someone disagrees with us, we react strongly – mocking, ignoring or even “canceling” each other. Recently, we listened to author Lisa Anderson speak at the Renew Women’s Conference. Lisa Anderson is a director of Young Adults Ministry for Focus on the Family and manages the ministry “Boundless.” And she shared ideas that we can use to help us move forward in today’s divisive social environment. She suggests eight ways of loving those with kindness who think differently on things than we do. We were personally challenged to look at how we handle division and hostility.
- Think through the many opinions I have and why. How did I come to this opinion? Note to self- I don’t have to have an opinion on everything. Be open.
- Just because I have an opinion – I don’t have to share it – I have nothing valuable to share on this subject or that. Leave debates to the experts and absolutes to God’s word.
- Write down my triggers and tendencies I to react. Ask myself, how do I present myself? Be ready to respond prayerfully and intentionally. I must interact winsomely — if not, I should be quiet.
- Filter the three questions at the top of this article. Check my motives. Why am I posting? Do I want to be affirmed?
- Diversify my news outlets. Not every news outlet is inherently evil, nor is every one true. Gather my information. Read both CNN and Fox News. I must have facts and different views and gather information. I have the Word of God and He gives us discernment and we seek Him not the news. Reconsider and be willing to change my mind. Make friends who disagree on issues to challenge us. Get to know them, play games, go for a hike, and invite them over. I want to get to know them and why they think this way on that issue. Meet with them, affirm in what you can agree upon, Be quiet. Don’t get into an argument where you can. Love them with the love of Christ.
- Take a break from social media. Social media addiction is real. Am I able to get off the hamster wheel and be engaged with people in person?
- Get into God’s Word, his Word will supernaturally transform us. It gives real answers and will help us relate to people different than us.
- Ask God to lead with Love and solid Biblical principles. His word has much to say about How to be kind in a divisive world.
Here are a few Bible verses Lisa shared and recommended. We might want to stitch them on a pillow, post them on our lap top or add them as wall paper to our phone and then memorize them.
- “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (Proverbs 29;11, NKJV)
- “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes back and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17 ESV)
- “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
- “The tongue also is a fire, a word of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:6-10 NIV)
- “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17, 18 ESV)
- “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil for more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all you can to live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:16-18 NLT)
- “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Cor 13:11 NIV)
Friends, as Christians we are instructed in Romans 12 that as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone. Let’s try to incorporate Lisa’s recommended steps and Scriptures to memorize. When we do, we might just spread the love and peace of God to a world that desperately needs it!
— Sue M. Lindsey © September 2021