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Can we disagree well?


We appear to live in an increasing fragmented and angry society. Disagreements aren’t something new, but they seem to be more public and numerous than ever before.

With social media making it more exposed. We find ourselves always having to decide whom to follow and whom to leave. In our ‘cancel culture’ someone is always wrong, and someone should always be shut out.

It seems people aren’t content to just disagree. They have to constantly stoke up the disagreement on social media. They don’t stop with “I think you’re wrong.” But make personal attacks on people who think differently from themselves.

What a contrast to the instructions we find in Matthew chapter 18. Where people are urged to ‘settle their differences privately with each other’. And if this fails, they are to seek help in resolving the dispute by involving one or two others to assist.

Disagreements are inevitable. But is there a way to handle them without destroying or harming others or making things worse?

When matters are handled privately, misunderstanding can be addressed, and there is great potential for the other person to respond positively. A private meeting also helps to avoid the problem of gossip

Maybe we should actively practice that old adage “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.” Where people come to an impasse, and then set it aside. The issue in question might come up again, but they don’t feel a need to hammer away at it every time they talk.

We could also apply another saying ‘to sleep on it’, so if we are worked-up over something, we give it enough time so that we’re not so angry when we respond and are thinking more clearly.

Additionally, ask yourself honestly ‘Am I pursuing the truth here, or am I just trying to win the argument?’

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