Everyone disagrees with someone. It could be a small disagreement, like deciding where to go out to dinner for the night. But sometimes the disagreements that we have with people and their actions escalate into something much bigger than where to grab a bite to eat.
If someone in your life has made a decision that you don’t agree with, and maybe one that affects your life too, you can still love them and show them compassion. Here are three things to remember if you’ve been hurt by someone’s actions lately.
1. You can love someone you don’t agree with
Today’s culture tells us constantly ‘don’t judge’. But we judge situations and actions on a regular basis. When you ate at a new restaurant, you judged the quality of the food and decided whether you’d be coming back. When you drove in traffic, you judged how cars were flowing and made a decision as to when to shift into the lane you needed to be in.
It’s okay to judge someone’s actions. We do it on a regular basis when we decide who we can trust in our lives. We take their past and present actions in our life into account and decide whether they can be trusted with something.
But judging their heart? We have to leave that one up to God. So while you absolutely can disagree with someone’s actions, think that the decision they made wasn’t the greatest, and wish they had chosen something else, we’re still called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Loving someone doesn’t mean you agree with everything they’ve ever done. Instead, it means willing their good, calling them to be the best they can be, and wanting to see them in Heaven one day.
2. If you’re hurt by someone’s decision, remember that they have feelings, too.
The decision they made has may have also left them feeling insecure and vulnerable. We’re all created in the image of God, we all experience life together while on our journey towards Heaven. As you commit to showing someone compassion even if their decision has affected you, you’ll be able to recognize the humanity of the person in your life who you disagree with.
3. Love as Christ does
We’re called to love our neighbor without exception – even the ones who have hurt us and are not one bit sorry for their actions. But we’re also called forgive those who are remorseful for hurtful actions.
In the words of Thomas Aquinas and John Paul II, love means to ‘will the good of the other as other’. God loves with unconditional, agape love. He is love itself – and He tells us to “love one another as I have loved you” in the book of John. But the forgiveness He offers his children involves interaction – a two way street. His forgiveness is conditional, but all someone has to do to participate in and receive His forgiveness is simply to ask for it.
The first step to loving and forgiving those in our life as Christ loves and forgives us is remembering that we cannot do it alone. We have to be connected to Christ first. Take the pain that someone has caused you by their actions and take it to the foot of the Cross, where Christ forgives us repeatedly as we mess up along our path to him. Work on recognizing that we can’t love and forgive others without the help of God. Ask Christ to love those in your life in and through you.