We’re going to disagree from time to time. If you have any degree of freedom of thought, you will have an opinion or idea that others don’t agree with. You might be right or wrong, but as long as you live and have full use of your cognitive skills (i.e., a reasoning brain), you’re going to disagree with other people—even people you love very much.
Disagreements will lead to arguments, quite often. This happens, of course, when you or your friend are passionate about something, or it’s something so silly you feel that you have to “talk about” the conclusion your friend has made. I once got into an argument with a younger friend who told me some deer were “cold-blooded”. It got heated because he knew he was right and I was positive he was wrong. Eventually he realized that what he read on the web was a joke, and he was quite embarrassed. I let the matter drop, but I felt that it was better that we “argued” about it and discovered the truth so that others would not make jokes about him in a more hostile setting.
But how should we disagree, or argue, while at the same time not dishonoring God or causing others to question our claim to be a follower of Christ? I think that a lot of Christians can be very unkind when they argue and, in fact, seem no different from an agnostic or atheist when the argument gets heated.
So please let me offer some advice to those of you who argue—and especially to those that are very good at winning and are (perhaps) right most of the time. Be careful! Everyone has feelings—regardless of the tough outer shell they try to project. You might be totally correct, but the one(s) you are arguing with might be more “dug in” and resistant to your point because of how you push the point. Dale Carnegie once said, “A man proved wrong, against his will, is the man of the same opinion still.”
So be gentle! If you are 100% sure you’re correct, why get angry about it and raise your voice? No one is ever dissuaded from their position by being out-yelled! My frustration with smart Christians is that they are often intellectual bullies. But even more disquieting are the spiritual tyrants. This person can quote the entire New Testament, has “been there, done that”, gives a condescending smirk when you try to make your point, and seems to think that God is on vacation, so he/she will fill in and tell you what you need to know. (You know the type if you go to church regularly.)
Here’s are two simple rules to follow: (1)Treat people like you love them. You’ll be more careful, thoughtful and Christ-like. (2) If your friend IS wrong, and you’re sure of it, point it out in the way YOU would want someone to point you YOUR error! The world would make a seismic move if humanity did these two, simple, mature, God-ordained things.
Let’s agree to disagree….and yet esteem the other person highly.