Even though we’re all different, we can still love others. Why is it important to love people when we clearly don’t see eye to eye with? Because Jesus said so. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV). When Jesus commanded us to love others, He didn’t say that we had to agree with them first. So, what does love look like?

1. Love considers others first.

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2. Love looks for the best.

3. Love shows respect.

4. Love seeks unity.

5. Love isn’t selfish.

6. Love offers the best.

7. Love displays patience.

Loving others involves pain. Love means giving of yourself. Love means putting your heart out for someone to potentially wound. Love means being selfless and thinking about the needs of others before we think of our own. We’ll never love someone without discomfort accompanying it. It isn’t easy and is sometimes unnatural, but loving others is something we’re called to do as followers of Jesus. Even with those we don’t agree with. Especially those with which we don’t agree.

There will always be things we have to “agree to disagree on.” It could be the way we do our finances — some of us choose to live debt free, others don’t. It could be when we decide to start or end our day — some of us are early to bed, while others stay up late. Or it could be more serious differences that concern politics, social issues, or current events. Loving others while disagreeing with them at the same time is possible.

John 13:34–35, Romans 12:9–19, 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

1. Be Respectful

To show respect to someone means that we esteem them. Even if we don’t agree with someone’s stance, we can still treat them respectfully. It’s not about feeling respect for them, but showing it to them.

2. Ask Questions Respectfully

When we ask questions respectfully, we open a doorway to learn why someone believes what they do. It gives us a peek inside their hearts and minds and allows us to really see them. Instead of making condescending statements when someone shares their opinion, try asking, “How did you come to that belief?” We respect others by actually showing respect in the way we ask and answer questions.

3. Don’t Say It Mean

Disagreeing with someone isn’t a huge deal, and is easy to deal with if the situation doesn’t get heated. But, unfortunately, we get bothered when someone doesn’t see a situation or have the viewpoint the way we do.

When that happens, we lash out with our words and display an equal annoyance with our facial expressions, which can wound to the point where restoration may not be impossible, but it might be unlikely. So, consider how you want to be treated. Let’s leave meanness out of the disagreement equation.

4. Avoid Arguments

Most arguments are pointless. We only have so much energy each day and to give it to wasteful and time-zapping arguments, including ones on social media, means we have nothing left in our relational reserves for those closest to us.

You might say, “But I need them to hear my point!” Why? To win the argument? To sound smarter? We can’t change people. We can only change ourselves and be in control of how we respond.

5. Show Empathy

Most people have heard of the word sympathy. Simply put, sympathy is when we have common feelings of sadness or pity for and with someone else. Empathy has similar beginnings as sympathy, but it’s quite different.

While sympathy suggests that you share the feelings of someone else because of a similar experience, empathy implies that you have the capacity to imagine the feelings someone else had, but you haven’t actually felt them yourself.

6. Listen With Purpose

When we take the time to hear other people out, we value them by showing love and respect. As we truly listen to them, we can learn why they believe what they do. This helps us to get a glimpse into their lives.

7. Consider Their Stance

Learning someone’s reasons will help us see their view and keep us from judging too quickly. If someone shares the “why” behind why they believe in something you don’t, consider the background they’re sharing. People often land on their worldviews and stances because of their upbringing, which includes both positive and negative experiences.

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