Most of us learned about the “golden rule” while growing up. The rule is a stark demonstration of how to love one another, telling us that we should treat each other how we want others to treat us. Unfortunately, it’s often easier said than done.
In Jesus Christ’s famous Sermon on the Mount, He gives us a biblical version of today’s “golden rule” — “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 ESV).
We currently live in a broken world that’s divided on almost any topic imaginable. However, the Bible says that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, even our neighbors who disagree with us or think differently than us.
Matthew 5:46 (ESV) says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” It’s not enough to only love those who love us. We should work to love everyone around us, even through differences.
What are some ways that we can love others through differences? Let’s take a look.
What are some ways that we can love each other through differences?
- We can listen to each other’s experiences.
It’s extremely common in our society for us to jump to conclusions about people before we take the time to listen to their stories and experiences. The first step to being able to love one another through differences is to attempt to understand one another.
Proverbs 18:2 (ESV) says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
- We can work to encourage one another.
Hebrews 3 tells us to encourage each other often so that sin and deceit don’t harden our hearts — however, that can be difficult when we’re in a disagreement with someone. Oftentimes, we resort to listening to the deceit of sin that tells us to speak poorly about the other person instead of choosing to encourage them and love them through differences.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
- We can be patient with each other.
Patience can be difficult, and many of us tend to become frustrated easily. However, one of the best ways to love someone through differences is to display a spirit of patience with them.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV) says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
- We can intentionally pray for each other.
It can be difficult for us to intentionally pray for those who wrong us or disagree with us, but it’s an important choice for us to make. The Bible tells us to pray for those who persecute us, even though it may be hard.
Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV) says, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
- We can speak the truth but choose to speak it in a spirit of love.
Sometimes in our attempts to be right or “win” an argument, we focus all our attention on spewing the truth at someone. It can be hard for us to understand sometimes that truth and love are heavily intertwined. Truth and love can coexist, and we should speak the truth to others but speak it in a loving manner.
Ephesians 4:15 (ESV) says, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head.”
- We can put pride aside and display humbleness.
We were all born as prideful, sinful creatures. Mark 7:21-23 (ESV) says, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
While we are all prideful in some form or another, the Bible tells us that humility is important. One of the best ways to love others through differences is to put pride aside.
Proverbs 11:2 (ESV) says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”