Loving Someone With Whom You Disagree
Today in my Friday Five interview for Leadership Journal, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Russell Moore, the newly elected head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I’ve long admired Dr. Moore for his clear, biblical teaching and his winsome perspective on the Scripture and politics. One of the questions I asked him was about his relationship with the President. You might not expect a friendship between a liberal Democrat and a conservative evangelical, but this is what Dr. Moore said. I think his response gives Christians a good model for how to disagree agreeably:
I have disagreements with President Obama on some crucially important things, such as matters of life, marriage, and religious liberty. I have respect for him as a leader and as our president, and I like him as a person. When you pray for someone every day, it is hard not to love that person, even when he disappoints you in some area or another.
He and his Administration have always treated me with kindness and respect, and I have friends I love in the Administration. We don’t have to agree on everything to work together sometimes, and to seek to understand one another when we don’t agree.
I hope to honor and to pray for the President, as the Bible commands us to do, even when we disagree, and to work with his Administration when we have points of mutual concern for the common good.
I have learned a lot by watching the example of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in his friendship with the President. In a profile of Sen. Coburn in TIME Magazine, written by President Obama himself, of all people, the senator is quoted as saying, “What better way to influence someone than to love them?” I recognize the Spirit of Christ in that statement, and I hope to live up to it.