Every time I go online, there seems to be controversy brewing. Pick your topic – guns, abortion, religion, gay marriage, politics – it’s a never ending stream of disagreement. Most of those topics are all tangled up in each other, too, which makes them especially volatile. A majority of the people I know have very strong feelings about these subjects, and feel deeply convicted that their stance is the right one. It’s really hard to stay civil and open minded on these issues because there always seems to be a deep moral reasoning guiding people’s opinions. You rarely find someone in the middle of the road on any of them.
What do we do when something we believe in deeply clashes with what our peers, friends or even family may believe? How can we maintain respect and love for each other when we have convictions that can be so polarizing? It seems like a lot of people are driven to extremes – taking one side firmly and refuting any discussion of an alternative truth.
What does God ask us to do in these situations?
1 Thesselonians 5:21-22 says, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”
I could see this verse being used as ammo for one side or another in many arguments. But how I see it is an encouragement to discuss, debate, and question all those things we are disagreeing on, and seeking that which is truly good. Are we doing this? And while we do it, are we treating each other the way we should? Are we loving each other and treating each other with respect? Some people see this as “tolerance” or “acceptance” of a point of view that they disagree with. I don’t believe that’s how it works at all.
Some may think this is a simplistic view of how to approach problems. They may think that it won’t “get us anywhere” in terms of a final answer. And it may not. But in the course of examining the many divisive subjects, shouldn’t it be our goal to honor our relationships? Can’t we participate in the discussion for the growth and wonder that comes from the act of doing so and not just to beat another side in to submission or agreement?
How do you approach these difficult questions? Is it more important to you to be right or to be enriched by the discussion? Do you even bother asking questions or listening to the “other side”?
The God Story is a great way to start asking questions, and to crack open the window to figuring out what you believe and why. Why not check it out and see what you find out about yourself? http://thegodstory.com/