J.C. Derrick: Loving our political enemies

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, November 12th. Good morning! You’re listening to The World and Everything in It from WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Let’s take a minute here, Mary, and note that you and I will be in Music City next week!

REICHARD: You, me, and a bunch of other WORLD Radio folks! Nick will be there, Emily Whitten, a bunch of other—all there in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s our third World and Everything in It Live! event. 

Seats are free, but you do need to register first. Go to worldandeverything.org, hover over the “engage” tab, then click “live events.” You’ll see all the info right there.

BASHAM: And big thanks to our host, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The date is next Thursday, November 21st, at 7 p.m. 

Okay, well, now on to WORLD Radio’s managing editor J.C. Derrick. He’s got some thoughts on navigating differences among Christians.

J.C. DERRICK, COMMENTATOR: My colleague Sophia Lee writes a regular online column for WORLD Magazine. It’s called—appropriately enough—Sophia’s World. And if you’ve never read it, you’re missing out. 

Sophia has spent much of this year reporting on the border crisis. She’s made numerous trips to the border and interviewed countless stakeholders from all angles of the story. 

As you might guess, covering a complex, politically charged issue has brought criticism. Lots of it. 

In her October 14th column, Sophia wrote—quote:

“In my six years of reporting for WORLD, I have never received so many negative, impassioned emails and comments as I have over the topic of immigration and the border.” End quote. 

It’s no surprise that Christians would disagree, but how we handle that disagreement makes all the difference. Sophia challenged us to do it with more charity. Quoting again: 

“It’s OK that we Christians disagree on certain policies regarding immigration. But precisely because immigration policies are not something that the gospel is all that clear about, we should keep an open mind and not just rely on our favorite news source to form staunch opinions. The truth is usually a lot more complex than quick news bites and tweets.” End quote. 

That’s sound advice we need to hear. 

Earlier this year the American Enterprise Institute released a study on American community and society. Among lots of interesting data, one disturbing fact stood out: more Americans get a sense of community from their political ideology (64 percent) than their place of worship (54 percent). 

In fact, “place of worship” ranked eighth out of nine categories. 

To borrow a phrase from the book of James: “My brothers, this should not be!” 

Jesus moved toward people of all kinds. He called political enemies—a zealot and a tax collector—to be among his disciples. And in the garden He prayed that His people would be one. 

Where does that oneness come from? It’s not the shifting sands of politics. It’s Jesus and His finished work on the cross. That’s our orienting principle. 

And because of that, I have more in common with my political opposite who is a believer in Jesus than I do my God-less neighbor who may happen to share my political ideology. If that’s difficult to swallow, then we might have made an idol out of politics. 

And to find out if that’s the case, Dallas pastor Robby Higginbottom recently suggested asking some diagnostic questions. One of them is this: When was the last time my favorite cable news channel made me want to move toward my political opponent and get to know them better? 

Or how about this: When was the last time I got as animated talking about some spiritual concept or lesson as I do when I’m talking about politics? 

The ultimate question is what we’re allowing to shape our minds: Am I soaking in God’s Word every day? 

May God give us open hearts to ponder the real answers. 

For WORLD Radio, I’m J.C. Derrick.

(Photo/Delil Souleiman, AFP, Getty Images)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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