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Agree to Disagree—With Mutual Love and Respect

How love provides a framework to listen, not counterattack.

Mutual respect
Credit: Getty Images

As the saying goes, if you want to keep a friend, don’t talk about religion or politics. Yet it’s difficult to walk away from arguments about ideas that we feel are right for our country. Or to ignore religious interpretations that undermine our convictions.

I recently had a person come to see me to discuss their rocky marriage. It had gotten worse as of late because of politics. And to add more fuel to the fire, religious differences as well. Did they love each other? I asked. After a silence, she looked at me and said, “Yes, we do.” 

Love doesn’t remove our ideological differences, but it does provide a framework to agree to disagree with respect. It allows us to deal with conflicts that seek to separate us. Instead of shouting, we can talk. We can listen to understand, not to counterattack.

Love doesn’t ask us to compromise our beliefs, but to speak to them with grace and humility. It doesn’t ask us to approve injustice but to practice justice starting with those who are furthest from our views. It doesn’t ask of us to be the guardian of one worldview but to build bridges to create a world for people of all views.  

People often argue that there is too much at stake to put aside irreconcilable differences. But the stakes are even higher if we don’t find a way to disagree with love and mutual respect. History teaches us how irreconcilable differences can lead to division and, at worst, to violence and oppression. The stakes are high if we are not patient and kind with one another, even those who don’t agree with us on anything. 

If we let love and respect—not hate and disregard—guide us, we can create a country and world where people can live in peace despite their differences.

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