As I became more serious about my calling to ministry, my views became more “conservative”. I had friends in high school on both sides of the spectrum. One in particular was more “liberal” in his views. I will give him credit for respectfully listening to me although we disagreed. He would engage me in topics and hear me out. We would strive to focus on common ground just as we do today. I can honestly say that, despite our differences, I respect him as a very talented and driven individual who has done well.
He made this statement after I posted about racial reconciliation recently:
“Much respect to you for speaking out about this!
“Speaking as someone who considers themselves to be liberal/progressive/left/whatever label is cool this week lol, it is refreshing to see those with more conservative views not be silent in this area.
“Also, even though we may disagree on some things I enjoy reading your blog! I often find we agree on more things than you might think. Hope that doesn’t scare you haha.”
I responded with this:
“I may be a conservative, and I have no problem that we agree on many issues. Labels are labels, and they really don’t define much of anything when you get to the bottom of it. I enjoy challenging the status quo and can disagree and still hang out with those with whom I disagree. Jesus loved people where they were. I can’t find a better example to follow.”
“Well said. Couldn’t agree with you more!”
I honestly wish we could see this level of respect on multiple levels. Republicans and Democrats are each fighting for the way of the party. Churches are fighting over secondary issues. People with varied backgrounds and differences cannot see the common thread that weaves them together because they spend too much time magnifying the differences.
I am thankful for the differences. That does not mean I agree with everyone. I continue to maintain my stance on certain issues while striving to be a gentleman about it and loving my neighbor as myself. As Mandisa sings, “We all bleed the same, so tell me why we’re divided.”