Behind the mask of political correctness lies a divisiveness—even among Christians—not seen in our country for many years. While we pray for healing in our land, how do we remain friends with those on the opposite side of the fence, whether that fence is political, economic, social, or religious?
By being so focused on trying to be politically correct, we’ve become socially incorrect! In trying not to offend anyone, we offend so many more people!
Somehow, we’ve turned into an angry mob that thinks it’s ok to scream and yell our every thought from the street corners and from social media platforms. In doing so, we’ve alienated even those we love.
I could give the all-inclusive exhortation:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Instead, let’s talk about what to do if you’re on the receiving end of a friend or family member’s tirade that goes against your views or grieves your soul. How do you maintain that relationship? Should you? How do you separate a person’s political/economic/social/religious views from the person herself?
It’s not easy! First of all, pray! Give your heartache over to the Lord. He knows all about betrayal and abandonment (Simon Isacriot, anyone?).
Then, if the other person holds an immoral or unethical position, gently share the biblical position with her. She may not receive it, but you have done what you could. Then drop it and don’t harp on your position any more.
Here are some other considerations and actions you can take:
- How important is the relationship to you? Is it worth preserving?
- Listen actively to understand, not to give an answer. Listen with an open mind—you may learn something. On the flip side, be sure you know what and why you hold to your beliefs. Get to the heart of the matter that’s separating you.
- Don’t take it personally. I know, I know. I’m the pot calling the kettle black! But chances are, your friend is not attacking you but rather is desiring to prove her rightness.
- Set boundaries.
- Block posts from groups that upset your equilibrium on social media.
- Unfollow someone for 30 days (they’ll never know, and it’ll give you time to breathe and decide whether you want to keep seeing her posts after that).
- Don’t engage in public debates on social media! Those debates tend to take on a life of their own and involve half of your friend list.
- If needed, set a time limit on how often or how long you’re willing to engage in face-to-face discussions.
- Have a go-to phrase to signal the end of the discussion, such as “Well, we aren’t going to solve the world’s problems today, so let’s set this aside and focus on something happier.”
- If you can’t meet at Starbucks without getting offended by something she says, become less available for a meeting.
- Let go of the notion of being right. You may, indeed, be right according to Scripture, but if you insist on winning every argument, you will lose your relationships; however, it is possible to give facts and evidence occasionally in response without attacking the person or destroying a relationship.
How do I know, first of all, how difficult it is to separate the person from her beliefs, and, second of all, how difficult it is to truly love someone in spite of her contrary views? Someone very close to me has become increasingly vocal about a value that is completely contrary to Scriptures. I understand, sweet friend, and I’m praying for you.
How can I pray for you during this difficult time? Let me know!