This post is not about Proposition 26, but it is about a problem that became evident during the days leading up to and following the vote. Countless numbers of Facebook posts and comments were devoted to this sensitive topic. Almost equal to the number of posts were the number of hurt feelings that stemmed from the discussions.
Damaged relationships have not been limited to debates of this particular topic though. One glance of the discussions that result in personal attacks and hurt feelings leads us to one conclusion: We don’t know how to handle disagreement.
Here, I am particularly focusing on Christians because we seem to be some of the worst. If you don’t agree, just read your Facebook feed or comments on most Christian blogs. They’re awful. We need to remember three ideas when interacting with someone who disagrees with us on any given topic:
1.) Expect to be disagreed with– This is the least important one so I won’t spend much time on it. If we’re putting our opinion out there for the world to see, like I’m doing with this very blog, we should expect someone to disagree. After all, we wouldn’t put it out there if we believed every person in the whole world agreed. So don’t get upset when a person tells you that your view on politics or theology is stupid. If that bothers you, putting your ideas out there for the world to see probably isn’t the wisest move.
2.) An attack on your idea is not an attack on you– While there may be exceptions to this, a person generally does not mean you harm when they express their dislike for your position on a topic. For example, if a Presbyterian tells me (a Baptist) my view of baptism is wrong, they’re not calling me an idiot who can’t read my Bible. It, like most issues in this world, is complicated so we can’t expect everyone to agree. It’s perfectly acceptable to disagree with a person while deeply respecting them. Don’t take it personally.
3.) Always show the love and grace that you have been shown– We have been shown amazing love through the Father sending His Son to die for our sins. This is not only the source of Christian love but also the example of Christian love. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:11).” The Lord has been patient with us even when we were rebelling against Him; we must be patient with others, even when we disagree on important issues. If someone is being a jerk, show them the love and grace you are shown when you spit in the face of God.
Regardless if you’re debating theology, politics, or sports, let the gospel dictate every area of life. Christ was firm yet loving and bold yet gracious. As ambassadors of Christ, these, too, are our marching orders.
What other advice would you add?