Should we be wearing masks or not? Boy, that can be a contentious conversation. Seems at the moment there are many things that people are very divided over. And it also seems that people have very strong opinions as they discuss these things. Sometimes those conversations can deteriorate into very disrespectful discussions. How are you handling that contention in our world at the moment?
As Christians we want to be very careful as we discuss the different issues around us. We want to act in love, being concerned for not only ourselves, but others. To the Philippians St. Paul gave this advice in chapter 2.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility consider one another better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Why do we become disrespectful to others as we discuss difficult issues? Sometimes it’s because we know we’re right. But when it goes into disrespect what it really is, is “I think I’m better than you.” “I’m not just right, but you’re wrong and you’re stupid.”
We are to think of others as better than ourselves. That means we’re to look up to others and to respect their opinion. Now, they may be wrong. And the consequences of them being wrong may be very serious, but we can still act with respect towards them.
Paul goes on in this second chapter of Philippians to explain the attitude that Jesus had. He [Jesus] could certainly look with disrespect to you and me. Look at the way we’ve lived. Look at the stupid things we’ve done and the wrong things we’ve done. But he didn’t act with contempt, he acted with love. He gave up his place in heaven, came down to this earth, and lived a life of humility. He put you before himself. And he suffered and died in your place so that you could be forgiven.
Jesus has shown you great honor and respect by taking your sins away. And so now you get to live as God’s dearly loved and forgiven child. And you get to carry out Jesus command: as I have loved you, so you must love one another. And as I have forgiven you, so you must forgive one another.
Let us then have these difficult conversations about serious matters, but let us do with gentleness and respect so that we can act in love just as Jesus has loved us. May His peace fill your life. Amen.