In today’s polarized world, agreeing to disagree can seem like a naive notion of the past. From opposing political views to racial and cultural divisions, our issue disagreements can all too quickly descend into ugly personal insults. When things get heated and we feel attacked, how should we respond?

Dr. Linda Mintle says it’s time for us to honestly assess how we might react to an angry neighbor.

“Would I become argumentative? Would I start slandering her back? Or would I show the love of Christ and just love her?”

“To speak calmly, speak the truth in love, but not return hate for hate: I think that’s going to be the challenge for Christians. We’re actually going to have to live out what the Scripture says on a day-to-day basis, because the attacks and hostility are only going to increase.”

In this type of heightened situation, how can we engage our differences with respect? Dr. Linda recommends watching your words in both face-to-face and social media discussion.

“God is really calling us to bridle our tongues. The tongue is a consuming fire; it’s untamed. You really need the power of the Holy Spirit working in you when people come at you, when they attack you, when they say negative things. Christians shouldn’t be on social media saying terrible and awful things (in response) to the opposition. It’s going to be a test of our faith.”

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” 

Dr. Linda says that’s the call for believers across the political spectrum today:

“It’s now the time to model love, to walk in humility as the Bible tells us to do. We need to be civil towards one another, whether you liked or hated the outcome of this election. We’ve had enough of these verbal attacks. There’s going to be plenty of negative messaging, you’re going to see that 24/7,  and we have to remember that mercy triumphs over judgement.”

“We the people–the people of God–need to behave differently. We need to stand out from the crowd, to keep our conduct honorable.”

 Dr. Linda Mintle is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed clinical social worker and national expert on relationships and the psychology of food, weight and body image. She’s a best-selling author with 19 book titles to her credit, and hosts the Dr. Linda Mintle Show on Faith Radio.

Responding to personal attacks, Dr. Linda Mintle