As I scrolled through a friend’s Facebook page, I noticed we had several mutual friends. While looking at that handful of mutual friends, I saw the image of someone who doesn’t care much for my views on the Church or God’s Kingdom. He has let me know in no uncertain terms on several occasions of his displeasure with me and my views.
After I had scrolled past his image, the Lord had me return and hover over the man’s photo. I did something that I do each time this happens, I began to bless the man. In the blessing, a phrase came out of my mouth I had never used before while blessing someone with whom I have a contrary relationship. I said, “Lord, bless our common interests in your Kingdom.”
I knew the brother and I would most likely continue to see some aspects of the Church and how God’s Kingdom works in culture from very different positions. What the Lord was offering me was an opportunity to engage someone on what we have in common, not just our disagreements. In the place of our mutual agreement are the basic truths about God and His love. Of those two issues, I am sure we have no conflict of interests. When we choose to relate to each other on those points of agreement is where a relationship can be healed, developed, and affirmed.
Before we toss away another believer because they voice opposition to our views and feel it’s their calling to offer ongoing correction, we have another option to explore. We need to ask the Lord to reveal our common interests. That will keep us from seeing someone and their opinion as a conflict of interests to be avoided instead of a Spirit-led opportunity to relate to each other in a mature and affirming way. That choice lets people know what the love of God looks like in a world where everything is disposable, even our relationship with fellow believers.