I’m a morning runner. I awake before the sun rises and pound the pavement before daybreak. Working out before dawn requires discipline or, in my case, accountability.
For the last several years, I’ve met a handful of devoted friends for early runs. In the blanket of morning darkness, we congregate at the local trail. Within minutes of arrival, we canter down the path. Headlights attached to our foreheads illuminate our route and warn of fallen debris.
The mileage flies by as the company makes the time go quickly. We spend those precious miles chatting about all sorts of things. Our conversation fluctuates between the mundane and the meaningful. In one breath, we can discuss everything from fashion to faith.
Within the last several months, I’ve started to run with Beth. She arrives for runs as if she stepped off the pages of a fitness magazine. Beth radiates beauty, and not just the sort that’s skin deep. Her deep-rooted faith and fun personality pours meaning and brightness into her words. As sisters in Christ, I savor Beth’s sage advice and biblical counsel.
On a recent run, the discussion ventured into politics. Beth divulged her thoughts. My eyes widen in disbelief. I was shocked as our opinions differed greatly. As one who detests conflict, I anticipated holding my tongue over our differences.
Yet, my hold didn’t stick.
I couldn’t help myself.
I unleashed my views.
While I was careful to maintain a non-combative tone, an awkwardness hung over our remaining miles. Clearly, we weren’t seeing eye to eye.
We finished the run and parted ways, and I spent the ride home rehashing our conversation. As fellow believers, how could we differ so wildly in our viewpoints? I pondered how Jesus would want me to handle our divide. How would He want me to move forward with Beth?
While 2020 may seem uniquely historic in its political discord, Jesus experienced a similar tumultuous climate at the height of His ministry. It was a divisive time as the Roman empire ruled over Israel with an iron fist. The Jewish people varied in their response. Some Jews worked for the Romans collecting taxes from their fellow countrymen, while others vehemently opposed Roman occupation and enacted violence on the Roman soldiers.
In such a contentious environment, one would assume Jesus would stick with compatible people.
When Jesus selected His twelve disciples, He added two men on opposite sides of the political spectrum. In His inner circle, He included Matthew, a tax collector, and Simon, a zealot who resisted Roman rule.
In modern terms, I imagine this is like placing contrasting political pundits next to each other at the Thanksgiving table.
Clearly, this was a recipe for disaster.
Why didn’t Jesus just pick a side? Avoid hanging out with those with such strong opposing opinions? Surely it would have been easier for the disciples to be a like-minded crew.
I imagine Matthew and Simon engaged in a few heated discussions, but it didn’t seem to separate the men or the disciples. They discovered a unity in Christ that was bigger than their discord over politics. These twelve men were linked in their love and commitment to Jesus.
When thinking about how to move forward with Beth, I ponder the familiar adage, “What would Jesus do?” I believe Jesus would encourage a friendship between two women with diverging opinions. God put Beth into my life as a friend and sister in Christ. He wants what unifies us to be greater than what divides.
We sit on different sides of the political spectrum, but we serve the same Lord.
We may disagree about who sits in the Oval Office, but we agree on who sits on the heavenly throne.
We don’t see the world the same, but we see each other as fellow daughters of Christ.
Politics may divide, but in Christ we find our common ground.Leave a Comment
A good word this morning, especially right before Election Day in the US.
They will know we are Christians by our love.
Keri Boer says
Thank you for this post. It is right that our faith influences our view of political issues, but that does not mean that Christians all share the same views. There is not only one way for Christians to vote or where to stand on various issues. Yet we should lead the way on how to disagree with civility and love. God is not a democrat or republican; He’s not even an American. God is greater than our political systems and uses them for His purposes. We are to be faithful to his Word and calling and treat one another and our neighbors with love, even if we disagree.
Thanks for writing this. This gives me much encouragement and hope. Have a blessed day.
In this particular election with abortion being such a hot topic, I as a Christian don’t see how I can find any common ground with a fellow Christian who would vote for a party that says abortion is OK. That’s just my personal opinion.
Linda Hardin says
Well said Becky! I am prayer partners with your mom. I’m pretty sure our situation is much like your s and Beth:):). Respectfully it can be hard for sure but our friendship of almost 40 years goes much deeper than politics. Your mom has been one of the most influential women in my spiritual growth. She is someone I trust immensely and have had a much richer life bc of her. Keep writing Becky. Your mom is so so proud of you as am I.
Priscilla Baker says
This is written so well I wanted to keep reading. There is a desire to know how this divide can be brought to a point of respect for one another and continuing friendship. Please keep it coming; you are gifted and your story will tell how Jesus works through the impossible. Thank You!
Emily B. says
Thank you, THANK YOU for this encouragement that Jesus is greater than politics! It’s a great reminder that loving those we disagree with is a crucial part of Christian unity. I’ve never thought about how tense things could’ve gotten between Matthew and Simon before; thanks for a new perspective. Blessings!
Beth Williams says
We are all created uniquely. We won’t always agree on everything & that is alright. The different denominations do church their own way with their own beliefs. Our beliefs may differ & divide us, but one constant should remain in our lives & friendships Jesus Christ died for ALL of us-democrats. Republicans, Independents, etc. We should acknowledge that Christ is first & foremost in our lives & that should be common ground for us all!