From Equilibrium: 31 Ways to Stay Balanced on Life’s Uneven Surfaces

I recently had a wonderful time with my two sisters. Janet and Laura have known me since I was born. They could tell many stories about me, but I’ve not asked for their input here. I’m afraid of what they might say.

Not really.

I know what they would say.

They’ll say what I am saying.

When Debbie and I sat together with Laura and Janet and her husband Bruce. Together. Around one table, but in different chairs. Together. Eating one meal, but with different food selections on our plates. Together. Different stories and thoughts and feelings, different tendencies and preferences and memories, different hurts and fears and hopes. Together.

It was in December, so I asked about Christmas memories. They remember more than I do. They also reminded me of experiences I had forgotten. We talked about our parents and our traditions and our friends, about grandparents and children and grandchildren. Together. We talked together about how we are a family together—though living different lives in different places in different ways.

I love my sisters.

“But, Chris,” you say. “This is different. It’s not family and it’s not like you with your friend talking about favorite authors. How can I agree to disagree and show love to such hateful people? I don’t like them. I despise who they are, what they say, and what they do.”

I hear you.

I’m not suggesting you hug and smile and sing a song together. I’m asking you to refuse to allow the different opinions and harsh disagreements be all of the story. Realize they are created in the image of God. Remember our invitation to love everybody everywhere. Receive a love from God that inspires you to treat them with kindness no matter how they act toward you, or your beliefs.

Disagree with them. That’s okay.

But do not let their beliefs or behavior control your beliefs or behavior.

Be kind. Show respect. Hear their thoughts. Learn their story.

Find out not only what they believe. But why they believe that.

Pray for them. Not for God to make them more like you. Pray for God to help them grasp His love. Pray that, knowing that you might be the very person to show them God’s love.