These days, everyone has their ideas on what is the right thing to do. If the matter involves morality (that somehow morphs into politics), then things gets really crazy. Christians telling other Christians what is the “christian” thing to do. Eventually, these conversations doesn’t end well, and someone’s ego is going to be left bruised by the door (or keyboard).
The main problem that I’ve noticed these days, is that everyone has their own idea what being Christian is, and this is coming from other Christians. I was on my Facebook feed and a hot topic of immigration came up. Many people have their opinions on what is the right, or “christian,” thing to do, and what seems “unchristian”. Each side cherry picking quotes to support their argument. It didn’t matter to the people to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. It’s all under one umbrella.
I won’t discuss politics since we see it everywhere. We are all entitled to our opinions, and we are all entitled to decide if we want to hear those opinions. Politics I won’t discuss, but morality–I’ll discuss in a heart beat.
What gets me, though, is the banter that’s being used while discussing these opinions. Name calling, judging, flat-out hatred. It doesn’t matter which side of the camp you fall on–it’s now being seen as the norm to do it.
Before, discussions used to be about separating the sin from the sinner (or in this case: opinions from the person). Today, it’s blocking, un-friending, and ridiculing a person because of their opinions. As Christians, this is extremely dangerous to do.
Whatever is bothering you, politics, finances, life, people, it doesn’t matter–you will be held accountable when you open your mouths (or fail to speak up). This is not a limiting way to live, but quite freeing. It’s being able to be in control of your emotions. It’s protecting your soul.
When we are judging others without mercy–we are setting ourselves up. Those who judge without mercy will also be judged without mercy. This plea, however, is not telling you to be a pushover. Tell the truth always, but learn to speak the truth with love.
Now this doesn’t mean it’s going to be well received, after all, since when is truth received with open arms? Truth challenges us when we didn’t want to be challenged. It forces us to choose sides, even if we don’t like the outcome. No, truth is never received happily.
It’s a battle to be constantly on guard, but there are things that we can do it be on offense instead of defense.
1. Check Emotions at the door.
When we share our opinions with others, we should honestly leave emotions out of it. Emotions are the thing that blocks our ears, makes up prideful, and say things that we should not say.
2. Walk away from a heated discussion before you respond.
In order to have a level head, you cannot get emotional. I’ve noticed that when that happens, name calling, and telling people where they are going to end up usually details to whole conversation.
The point of the conversation is to converse, talk. To try to understand where the other person is coming from.
I don’t care if others perceive it as a sign of weakness, I care about my soul. It’s not about winning an argument or a debate by any means necessary, it’s about the last day and my love for God here on earth. That’s it.
3. Not everyone wants to talk, some just want to dominate.
I was going to say “win” but that’s not the entire truth. The goal really has been to dominate. To quite all other thoughts, drown them out, so that there are no other oppositions. You cannot engage with people like this, because they simply don’t care for truth, or understanding. They are deep in their ways, and they only think their way is the correct way.
4. Tell the other person where their actions could lead them.
I’m not shy about telling others whom I speak with that they don’t want to regret the words they say. Every jab, every word that is uttered to get under another person’s skin will be accounted for.
Even if I disagree with you, I will remind you of this. I love the person that I’m taking with, regardless of the differences of opinions.
5. If that fails and they don’t care, pray for them.
I’ve been in situations when even warning them about this and the danger to their soul, and they inflict words that are emotionally damaging anyway. I won’t sit here and say that it didn’t hurt. It hurt. Oh man it hurt. I’ve cried–not because what they said was true, but because even with the warning, they went full steam ahead.
Want to be the bigger person? Want to be a better person? Pray for the person whom you have a disagreement with. Pray that God touches their hearts (if it’s a moral issue) and ask God for understanding so that He can to use you to help others. I’ve taken that pain before, and poured it into prayers. I’ve asked God to bless them. I offered up the pain , and I ask God to do with the offering as he sees fits.
Differences of opinion does not mean we have to drive people from our lives, instead, we should try our best to find out where the other person is coming from. What’s driving them, and truly learn from each other.
Did I leave anything out? What are some other ways that you can have a positive engagement with others, even if you disagree?