Monday, February 22, 2021

Agree to Disagree

In today's culture, we seem to have lost the fine art of agreeing to disagree. Actually agreeing to disagree.

No one agrees 100% on everything with any one other person. My sisters and I are close, and we agree on a lot, but we don't agree on everything. For instance, my middle sister prefers LOTR to Narnia, but Narnia is more special to me than LOTR. (I do love LOTR, though, and my sister's preference for it might be because I made her watch The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe five hundred million times.) Even couples with a great marriage who are on the same page on a lot of things don't agree 100% on everything. For instance, my mom loves broccoli and my dad won't eat it.

But my sisters and I don't get into heated arguments about whether Narnia or LOTR is better. My parents don't fight over whether my dad should eat certain vegetables (though we do make sure he gets some vegetables because we want him around for a good long time).

I was raised Presbyterian in Baptistville, and so I'm around a lot of people I disagree with on certain fine points of theology. I'm reformed, I have dear friends who are not. We don't have arguments about the doctrine of election.

I'm a Christian conservative and have campaigned for conservative candidates since I was eight years old. I have worked with people who assuredly do not share my political and religious beliefs. But we work together and do our jobs, and serve the people in front of us.

Is it hard to not argue with people? ABSOLUTELY. 100%. I'm argumentative by nature. I have many times argued with people when I shouldn't. I often have to bite my tongue and just move on to another topic. And it can be hard. But it's worth it.

I look around America today, and I see all this negativity and volatility and violence. Sometimes people fight over unimportant things, like whether The Last Jedi was any good. Sometimes people fight over things that matter, like religious freedoms. But what good does it do when we just yell at each other? It only makes people more mad, more defensive, and more set on their position. It creates more violence. Perpetuates cancel culture. And I'm tired of it.

We live in what is supposed to be a free nation. The First Amendment is supposed to protect freedom of speech. And we should be willing to let other people have their own opinions and beliefs. We should be able to discuss our differences calmly and rationally, being willing to see others' viewpoints. Maybe we'll convince each other to change our views, maybe not. But if we're willing to sit down in a non-hostile environment, then just maybe, even if no one changes their mind, we can agree to disagree and unite on the things we do agree on. Even if the only thing we can agree on is that chocolate is awesome. 

Above all, "Be ye kind, one to another." All of this fighting is the opposite of kindness. You don't win people over by burning down their business, or by firing them from a job they do well because they disagree with the mainstream narrative. You win people over with love and kindness.

And if that's controversial, then so be it.

"When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind."

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