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Loving the Individual Despite Their Viewpoints

Angell Vasko


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Mike didn’t intend to write a book about how to preserve relationships amidst strife. The original plan for his second book was to offer his personal positions on various divisive issues, such as alcohol use, refugees, politics, and vaccines – just for fun, he says. “You know what happened? My wife read it. ‘I don’t know if you’ve really covered the argument,’” she told him.

Mike prayed, pivoted, and wrote a different book. “This book is not about agreeing to disagree,” he states up front. “It sounds as if two parties have agreed to lay down their arms until a better opportunity to shoot each other arises.” The more he prayed and thought about it, Mike decided he would write a book about leaning in to hear people, especially those with whom we disagree, and learning how to love them versus defeat them. “The purpose of this is fourfold,” he says. 

•    Subjectify those we’ve objectified
•    Empathize with those we’ve vilified
•    Humanize those we’ve deified
•    See that our posture is just as important as our position
Mike continues. “I want to show you how in everything you say and everything you do, your posture can be one of love. Because true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. That is to say, truth without love isn’t truth. Love without truth isn’t love.”


Mike believes that bitterness, the fruit of unforgivenss, is at the root of many relational problems. Pretending it’s not there and/or trying to live a good life around it simply won’t work, he says. “You can add workouts and meditations, charitable giving, and compliments. You can add prayer time and Scripture memorization, ice baths, breathing, and thought training. But if you’ve got the fork of resentment down in your gears, the only way to wholeness is by extraction. Try as you might, you can’t get healthy if you let bitterness remain,” Mike states.  

So why don’t we simply forgive and be done with it?, one might ask. “Injury can cause us to double down. We nurse our wounds until we build an identity around them. Our offendedness feels too good to let go of,” he explains. One of Mike’s friends is an addiction counselor. He told Mike that nearly every client he sees who is dealing with an addiction on the surface, also has another one: unaddressed bitterness. “He says it is the spring from which a river of dysfunction flows.”  

Mike shares the story of his own dad, who was verbally and physically abused by his father. Wondering how his dad was able to break the cycle and never abuse his own children, Mike asked him one day. Without hesitation, Mike’s dad told him he had written his father a letter. Mike assumed that meant that his dad told his father that he forgave him for all the wrong things he’d said and done to him. His dad corrected Mike. “I didn’t tell him that I forgave him; I asked him to forgive me for all the bitterness I had held in my heart toward him! I told him I loved him and that no matter what, he’d always be my dad. The second I put that letter in the mailbox, I felt all the weight in my world disappear from my shoulders. In fact, I don’t know if he ever read my letter. He didn’t need to. I was the one who needed to heal.” Mike says he was stunned, and remains profoundly moved by his dad’s words.   


In 2 Timothy, Paul advises his young protégé, Timothy, that the posture of one’s heart weighs just as much in God’s eyes as the strength of his argument. Paul tells Timothy how the believer should address any other person in presenting the truths of God: “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:24-25). “Okay, let’s recap,” Mike says. In talking with others, we are to be:

•    Not quarrelsome
•    Kind to everyone
•    Able to teach what I’m talking about
•    Patiently endure evil
•    Correct gently
•    Perhaps God (will grant repentance to the person)

In taking a closer look at Paul’s first requirement for effective communication, Mike believes we need to examine our hearts. “How much of my desire to correct someone who is questioning his faith is really fueled by my own desire to be seen as someone who knows the right answers? Do I want to love, or do I simply want to win?”

The next admonition given is to be kind to everyone. “Paul reinforces this,” Mike points out, “in Romans 2:4: “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” He adds, “If God changes people through kindness, why do I think I can do so differently? What motivation am I using to change others?”  


When we are challenged, corrected, or criticized, Mike says, it’s easy, even natural for us to become defensive and feel defeated. Through the process of co-writing songs, he learned just how quick he was to jump to both positions. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was getting to develop an annoying little muscle called humility.” After hundreds of song-writing sessions and as many critiques, Mike realized he was growing in his ability to handle them with grace.  

As he thought more deeply on it, he concluded that the gospel meets our deepest need for security in Christ, taking away our need to be defensive or feel defeated by the opinions of others or our own failures. “I am neither my mistakes, nor my successes,” Mike says. “I am not my bad ideas or my good ones. And when I finally understand this deep down in my psyche, something incredible happens. I not only handle correction, but I also begin to actively seek it out. I want to see where I got it wrong because I want to learn.”    

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About The Author

Angell Vasko

Angell Vasko joined CBN in 1999. Acting as Floor Producer and Guest Coordinating Producer for The 700 Club, Angell briefs the cohosts before the live show and acts as a liaison between the control room and show talent during the broadcast.

About The Author

Julie Blim

Julie produced and assigned a variety of features for The 700 Club since 1996, meeting a host of interesting people across America. Now she produces guest materials, reading a whole lot of inspiring books. A native of Joliet, IL, Julie is grateful for her church, friends, nieces, nephews, dogs, and enjoys tennis, ballroom dancing, and travel.