Today we see so much conflict and confrontation over differing viewpoints and opinions in every level of society. It seems as though people think that if they just shout their opinions louder at those who disagree with them, they will win. And there's so much to disagree about, and so many ways to voice those opinions. Even among believers, so many seem bent on criticizing other believers' beliefs or lives. Have we forgotten how much people mean to God, and that He's called us to always show respect to others, whether we agree with them or not?
We need to ask ourselves if our purpose is to get our "right" opinions out there or to honor God and further the spread of the gospel. Honestly, the truth is that most people don't really care what we think. Most don't care if we go to church, or whether we say all the right things. What gets their attention is what we do. It's how we show our faith. The Scripture says, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love" (Galatians 5:6). What pleases and honors God is when we express our faith in Him by loving other people as Jesus did. The Scripture says that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and...he went around doing good and healing" (Acts 10:38). He was empowered to do good. And in doing good He brought healing everywhere He went.
Over the years I've come to see that the loving attitude of our heart toward others can bring healing and resolution and even change in others, but not always. However, even if they don't change, I can tell you that you'll change. The Scripture says, "Those who are kind benefit themselves' (Proverbs 11:17). Another translation says, "Your own soul is nourished when you're kind." When you're good to people, you bring healing to them, and you nourish your own soul. You're breaking down walls and barriers that would keep you limited. And that’s what matters the most to God. He's not going to ask us how many people we changed, but whether we walked in love.
In a world so full of differences, we need to step back and say, "I'm going to be loving toward people, especially difficult, unlovable people." Look for opportunities to be good to those who are in your own backyard, to a coworker or a neighbor who could use your help. The Scripture says, "Do not withhold good from whom it is due, when it is in your power to act" (Proverbs 3:27). We can do far, far more through loving acts than we can by spreading our opinions. Amazingly, God works through the expressions of our love and touches the lives of others.