We can often be tempted to put our allegiance in the wrong order. If you are an American and you are a Christian, then you are a Christian American. We often view ourselves as American Christians instead of Christians who live in the United States of America. When we struggle to show kindness and seek unity with other believers, our error comes from forgetting where our true identity lies.
Our allegiance to Christ should always be first.
We are first a Christian, a valuable and dearly loved member of the Body of Christ. It is important to remember that our salvation has been purchased through the blood of another, Jesus Christ. This world is not our home. As a Christian, our lives should reflect Christ in how we love and treat others, those who vote like we do and those who don’t. We wear Christ’s name and not our own. We surrender our will and pursue Christ’s will for our lives always with the hope to bring Him glory through the way we choose to live our lives.
The cancel culture should have no place in the Christian’s life. We have been redeemed through the blood of Christ, the only One with the right to “cancel” anyone and yet He chose to love us instead.
When we remember our true allegiance and identity lies in Christ, how we respond to those with whom we disagree drastically changes.
We should all be pro-life and pro-choice.
We are to be known by our love, not our political affiliation (John 13:35). Love is what should characterize our interactions, love for God and love for others. Remembering we are all in need of God’s grace should help us to extend grace and love to others.
When we say we are pro-life or pro-choice, we should mean it—all the way. If we are pro-life then we value life at all its beautiful stages as well as the life of the one who thinks differently. We must love them regardless of their choice. Loving them doesn’t mean we agree with them but it does mean that we choose to love like Christ loved. When we choose to love those who we disagree with, we honor Him and bring glory to His name, not our political cause.
When we say we are pro-choice, we should mean it. We must not cancel others because they choose differently than we do. Each life has value, each person has been blessed by God with a freewill. We can value the choices of others, even if we disagree with them by seeking to understand and love, rather than dismiss or vilify. One of the best ways you can love someone is by listening to what they have to say.
Praying for our “enemies.”
Even if we view those who voted differently as our enemy, Christ calls us to pray for him or her. He does not give us the pass to hate them or be cruel to them based on their choice. In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment- to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples- if you have love for one another.”
Instead of viewing others as our enemy, we can see them as the dearly loved child of God they are, and treat them accordingly. We can reach out to them in love to better understand why they see the world the way they do. We can seek common ground, pursing unity over division. We must intentionally choose, every day, to view others with love instead of hate.
Romans 12:17-21 tells us to bless our enemies, feeding them when they are hungry. Doing this will “heap burning coals on his head.” It will also help us grow compassion for our enemies. When we go out of our
way to serve and love others, its is very difficult to continue to harbor feelings of hatred or anger toward them. It’s also difficult to harbor hatred and anger toward someone who is continually caring for and providing for you. God can change hardened hearts, sometimes even our own.
In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said, “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus commanded His followers to do this, but not without showing us how. He died for His enemies, for those who persecuted Him. Then He went the extra mile, He showered us with forgiveness, help, and love. How can we not do the same?
Leading in unity and peace.
Sadly, we have allowed much to divide us as the body of Christ, but we don’t have to continue down that path. Instead of giving in to the cancel culture, we can treat others with kindness, going out of our way to help and pray for our “enemies.” We can choose to show and extend love, even if at first we don’t feel the emotion of it. Since love is a verb, we don’t have to feel it in order to extend it. As the body of Christ, we can lead our nation back to unity and peace…one person at a time.
Learning from Jesus we see that He came to seek and save the lost. He discipled His disciples by doing life with them. He didn’t cancel those He didn’t agree with. He ate meals with His disciples, sinners, and Pharisees alike. They all had a place at this table. He served and helped people in His communities and taught His disciples how to do the same. Above all He humbly served and extravagantly loved. Jesus went so far as to humble Himself taking the form of a servant instead of asserting the authority and power He deserved.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”- Mark 10:45
Jesus also lived a life of prayer. Multiple times throughout the New Testament we see Jesus getting up early in the morning to pray. We can follow Jesus’ example by fighting for one another in prayer. Praying God will work in each of our hearts in powerful ways and show us how we can be more like Him. When we choose to pray for one another and believe the best in each other we can serve and love like Christ did.
When we choose to follow Jesus, we must follow all of His ways, not just the ones we like or find easiest. Praying for and serving our enemies may be difficult, but it is worth the work. I pray as we each seek to be more like Christ that God will unify the body of Christ and enable us to seek love, compassion and understanding, all the while spurring one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
As the world watches, may we glorify God in how we choose love over hate and compassion over division. For such a time as this.
Angela Perritt is the founder and director of Love God Greatly a nonprofit online Bible study ministry reaching thousands of women in more than two hundred countries around the world. Started in 2014, Love God Greatly has published more than 37 studies in over 30 languages. Angela is also the general editor of the Love God Greatly Bible (October 2020). She and her family live in Dallas, TX. https://lovegodgreatly.com/love-god-greatly-bible/