By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Sometimes it is difficult to give credit where credit is due, respect where respect is due, and honesty where honesty is due. In life, people we traditionally disagree with will periodically make a valid, indisputable point. When that happens, are we able to admit it or do we try to dismiss it? We are led to believe if we support one stance today, then we are unable to support an opposing stance tomorrow. We are told if we align with one person on a particular issue, then we forfeit our right to disagree with them on another issue. This can create conflict and turmoil in our life because we can find ourselves supporting something that should not garner our support. Or we can find ourselves dismissing something that we traditionally agree with.
Romans 13:7 (ESV): Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
We should not force ourselves to conform to ideas that are contrary to our belief system for any reason. If we find ourselves disagreeing with someone we love and respect; that is permissible. We owe everyone our respect, honesty, and love; but we do not owe any person blind allegiance.
Romans 13:8-10 (ESV): Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Luke 6:35 (NIV): But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
That is why it is important to make sure we live in a manner that allows us the freedom to speak honestly and openly. We don’t want to accept anything from anyone that could be used to manipulate our decisions.
It is equally important for us to make sure we are not putting anyone in a situation where they have to compromise their belief system. Even if we believe leveraging our relationship with someone can be to their benefit, we don’t want anyone to feel forced into anything. Whenever someone is coerced into doing something, it implies love is absent from their motivation. There is nothing peculiar about someone leveraging a relationship to attain a desired reaction; but there is something peculiar about someone giving without expecting anything in return. We want people to see our love for them and know that is the love of God in us. Let us continue to be careful in what we owe others and what we allow others to owe us; we don’t want to hinder or be hindered in any way.