If you were like most kids, throughout your childhood your parents, teachers, and coaches told you to “get along” with the people around you. As we get older, though, oftentimes we realize that this is easier said than done. We struggle to get along with coworkers who refuse to do their share of work. We struggle to get along with neighbors who throw parties on school nights. And perhaps most notably, we struggle to get along with acquaintances, friends, and even family members who hold different political beliefs than we do.

In many ways, politics are designed to create division and pit sides against sides. And it’s not a bad thing to have opposing sides—having varying political perspectives is actually very healthy for a country! But what happens when we choose a political side and lose a relationship in the process? What happens when we prioritize being right over getting along? Is it even possible to take a stand and stay in relationship with someone who has an opposing view?

In this series, as we see the way Jesus navigated the difficult world of politics in His day, we’ll discover what it looks like to choose people over politics no matter what—even when we disagree.

Week 1

Pick People Over Politics

Most people don’t like conflict. In fact, most of us try to avoid as much conflict as we can in our daily lives! If there’s been a disagreement with a coworker, we avoid running into that person in the break room. If there’s tension with another parent at our kid’s soccer game, we stand on the other end of the field.

And when it comes to people who belong to that political party? Who vote that way? Who like that candidate? To avoid conflict, we usually try to stay away from them. After all, no one wants to live in anger, tension, and frustration, and those people make us feel all of those things. But is avoidance really the best option when it comes to dealing with the tensions we feel with those we disagree with politically?

What if there’s a better way to handle conflict and people who vote differently from us? This week, we’ll take a look at the way Jesus approached people who believed differently from Him and could have easily written off. As we do, we’ll discover that when we pick people over politics, we might just find ourselves taking steps toward unity we didn’t even know was possible.

Week 2

Jesus Doesn't Fit in a Political Box

It’s no secret that we all like to hang out with people who are like us. We tend to spend the majority of our time with people who think like we do, talk like we do, enjoy the same hobbies we do, and even believe like we do. And this tendency to associate with those who are like us doesn’t stop with the family and friends around us. Without realizing it, sometimes we even project our thoughts, actions, and beliefs on Jesus, too. In other words, we believe that Jesus thinks and acts the way WE do—even when it comes to politics.

Whether we lean politically left, right, or somewhere in between, we believe that Jesus must lean that way, too. We piece together a view of Jesus that matches our own beliefs, instead of taking steps to adapt our beliefs to match His. But what if we’re wrong? What if the Jesus we read about in Scripture actually disrupts the assumptions we’ve made about Him politically?

This week, as we take a look at the way Jesus disrupted the social and political expectations of the people around Him, we’ll discover how Jesus prioritized the people around Him above any political view, and that we can learn to do the same.

Week 3

Win the Relationship, Not the Argument

Have you ever had an argument with other people in your head? You know, one of those imaginary conversations where you deliver your opinion so eloquently and convincingly that the other person just has to admit you’re right? We all have!

And whether we make confrontational statements on Facebook, argue at the dinner table, or privately joust with people in our minds, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we all have the same desire: the need to show other people that we’re right. But what if winning an argument isn’t really getting us the results we want? And what if we should be trying to win something else entirely?

This week, as we take a look at some advice Paul gave to the Corinthians, we’ll discover that winning a relationship is more important than winning an argument—and that truly winning someone over has less to do with changing a mind and more to do with the way we choose to engage with them along the way.