Relationships are more important than our opinions.

It seems everywhere we look lately, there is another tragedy trending on Twitter, or worse, streaming live over Facebook video.

This troubles me.

Not because I want to remain ignorant or unaware of the troubles and injustices our world is facing - actually, for the very opposite reason - it is because of this fallen, sinful, broken, fractured world full of injustice, murder, hate and racism, that I want with ALL that I am to CLING to what is good. I want to stay fervent in PRAYER. And continue sharing the HOPE found in Jesus Christ.

It is devastating that nearly every tragedy that has happened recently has turned political. I have come to expect this from the world and media, but it's the multiple believers who have taken to social media platforms to share their controversial opinions and thoughts on how they believe others should be responding, behaving, or championing their cause that is most devastating to me. Instead of being light to the world, some of these words have turned into fuel for the fire.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a passionate and opinionated person. I love a good, healthy debate. But I always want to walk away from the conversation with a hug or a good ole pat on the back, letting the other person know that our difference in opinion does not define our relationship.

When you share an opinion on social media, you are unknowingly creating a divide between you and others who disagree with you. You may never even know who these people are, and may never be able to give them that validation that your relationship with them is not strained. You will walk away feeling justified by those who agree with you, and possibly destroying any amount of influence you have to speak into the life of someone else.

I have read through enough personal opinions over the last month to know that I'll probably never agree with anyone 100 percent of the time. Unfortunately, social media makes the weight of that divide feel even greater. The likes, the retweets, the camps that are formed around which "hashtag" is most appropriate, while real families and real people are hurting and in need of hope. The hashtag will do nothing. Your relationship with them will.

Let me be honest, I wrote a whole comment on an Instagram post in response to the tragic weekend we had with the deaths of two black men and the police officers in Dallas. I wrote it in anger. I have my opinions. I have my grievances. My heart is broken for the terrorism that our country and world is facing.

Thankfully, I wrote it at 5am when no one else was likely awake, and was able to delete it 2 minutes later.

Because, my opinion wasn't worth costing me a relationship.

Instead, I prayed. Instead, I turned to Scripture for comfort and encouragement. Instead, I spoke those words aloud in my car to Jesus that I so badly wanted to type up and rant on some girl's poor Instagram post.

I believe you can grieve, without intentionally creating a divide. You can pray, without standing on the corner of a street and announcing it. And you can be confident that the God of peace will soon crush every tactic the enemy is using to create division in His church. Be on guard, brothers and sisters, our relationships are more important than our opinions.

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“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” - Romans‬ ‭16:17-20‬ ‭