Disagreements occur frequently in society. Each is entitled to their own opinion, but when trying to prove a point or disprove another’s opinion, a civil society demands that you do it politely. Whether it’s a political discussion or a philosophical debate, you don’t need to rant and rave, point fingers, or swear.
I appreciate the way presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson models his faith by disagreeing with dignity. He believes that honest heartfelt discussion is the means by which issues can be broached. There are two topics that we should always be willing to discuss with dignity: politics and religion.
“Political Correctness” is not permission to be a bully or the green light to be bullied. Political Correctness, well defined by Dr. David Platt, is when “right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion”. When someone loses t(or yields) the ability to “speak freely and consistently with their beliefs.”
Here are some suggestions for entering into the fray of healthy conflict laden discussion:
- Don’t make it personal.
- Avoid putting down the other person’s ideas and beliefs. Resist the temptation to yell, use sarcasm, or make derogatory comments and you’ll have a much better chance of getting your point across.
- Use “I” statements to communicate how you feel, what you think, and what you want or need.
- Listen to the other point of view. Being a good listener is a way of showing that you respect and understand the other person’s perspective. That makes it more likely he or she will do the same for you. When the other person is talking, try to stop yourself from thinking about why you disagree or what you’ll say next. Instead, focus on what’s being said. When it’s your turn to talk, repeat any key points the other person made to show you listened and heard what was said. Then calmly present your case and why you disagree.
- Stay calm. This is the most important thing you can do to keep a conversation on track. Of course, it’s a huge challenge to stay calm and rational when you feel angry or passionate about something — especially if the person you’re talking to gets heated. You may need to be the mature one who manages the conversation, even if the other person is a parent or someone who should know better. http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/tips_disagree.html
Here are my thoughts as we enter into an emotionally charged cacophony of voices this election season:
- Talk more with people with whom you disagree.
- Listen all the way through their proposition. Let people finish their sentences.
- Reflect what you hear
- Stay on point
- Acknowledge gratitude for their willingness to speak
- Be open to the possibility that you can learn from them
- Be accurate
- Let the way you disagree with people be an opportunity for faith to shine!
Remember: Sarcasm is sin.
We need to keep in mind the big picture. Government is a gift from God. It is important, but it is not eternal. We must grasp the fact that our government cannot save us! Only God can. We never read in the New Testament of Jesus or any of the apostles expending any time or energy schooling believers on how to reform the pagan world of its idolatrous, immoral, and corrupt practices via the government. The apostles never called for believers to demonstrate civil disobedience to protest the Roman Empire’s unjust laws or brutal schemes. Instead, the apostles commanded the first-century Christians, as well as us today, to proclaim the gospel and live lives that give clear evidence to the gospel’s transforming power. (c.f. –http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-politics.html)