Please Disagree With Me

When-In-An-Argument1

I’ve always enjoyed a good debate. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been opinionated and argumentative. Once, I even played devil’s advocate in the middle of a young adults group on my first visit.

I like to think I’ve softened  over the years, and I’ve gotten better about admitting when I’m wrong and abandoning an idea when my opposition presents a better one. But I haven’t stopped debating and I hope I never do.

I actually like it when people disagree with me sometimes. Yes, it can get annoying and yes, I do usually want them to see things my way. And yes, sometimes I can be a real control freak about it.

But the older I get, the more I realize that there are two sides to every story and it really helps to see both.

There are certain core beliefs (mainly Christian) that I will not budge on, but when it comes to little stuff, I really think it serves people better to have an open mind.

I find it funny that in the secular world, Christians hold the distinction of being close-minded, and yet America is literally drenched in Political Correctness. You may not disagree with anyone and you may not tell them that you think they’re wrong.

But I need people to tell me I’m wrong sometimes. Why? Because I’m wrong sometimes.

I once received a comment on this blog from a gentleman who said he’d enjoyed a post I’d written but disagreed with me on a point I’d made. I immediately began crafting a multi-paragraph reply, defending my point of view. In the end, after re-reading his comment, I realized that it was more likely a misunderstanding and wrote a much shorter reply. But I was still glad it happened.

The point he questioned was one that I held as an absolute and had never questioned for myself. Because he called me out on it, I was able to really look at it and figure out why I believed what I did and if I still believed it was right.

I think a willingness to be proved wrong is something sorely missing not only from the secular world, but from the modern church. Look how many denominations there are and most of them only disagree on a few minor matters.

We are called to sharpen one another ‘as iron sharpens iron’ (Prov. 27:17) and I don’t see how we can do that when we all go looking for churches that agree with us on every single point. Keep the main things the main things, please, but beyond that, be willing to be proved wrong on which type of music should be used in church or if Christians should have tattoos.

One of my best friends was raised Baptist, while my parents both came from more Pentecostal backgrounds. We disagree on some issues, yes, but it has never jeopardized our friendship. Discussing areas where we don’t see eye to eye has enabled us to challenge each other and really re-evaluate why we believe what we believe.

Even on subjects where I know I won’t budge, it’s still healthy to see the other person’s side of things. For example, I’m extremely pro-life and I don’t believe abortion is acceptable under any circumstances. However, I am interested to hear arguments for its acceptability in cases of rape because even if I don’t change my mind, I’ll still be able to understand the other side better and have more grace for those who have had abortions.

Of course, I’m not perfect. The flip side of my debate-loving personality is that I can definitely (often) take things too far. The key is to not take disagreements personally. To be un-offendable.

Just because someone disagrees with me on an issue I deem important, that does not make us enemies and it does not give me the right to judge them. If it’s a heavy, sin issue and I believe their soul is at stake, I can still present my case with love and respect, because ultimately it’s not on me to change what may or may not need to be changed about them. That’s God’s department. And He doesn’t debate. He just wins.

I’m certainly not saying go out and pick a fight with everyone you meet. I know that some people hate confrontation and that others can’t have a debate without it becoming a heated argument. If it won’t bare fruit, then stay away. But let’s be the change we want to see in the world and be the first to bravely face the facts that the only One who has all the answers is God and the rest of us are probably wrong about a few things.

Don’t agree? Please, say so. Because I could be wrong.

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About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

14 responses to “Please Disagree With Me

  • Karen Pickering

    I think we are all wrong more than we are willing to admit. One day I started making a list of bad advice or bad theology I had given people in younger days. (OK some were not that long ago.) I stopped making the list because I didn’t like being reminded by myself how many times I had been wrong. We like to think of ourselves as the most right of anyone we know. Then we get angry when someone else would dare to disagree with our mostly if not always right self. Much can be learned from listening to the other side or sides. Reminds me of the verse in Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it?” (ESV)

    • Leah Ness

      A very apt verse. I believe you’re right. I think if more of us could admit it when we’re wrong we’d also be able to show more grace to others when they’re wrong, which would help them to be less defensive and more gracious to us in turn.
      Thanks for reading =)

  • greenlightlady

    I agree about treating others with gentleness and respect even if we do not agree on everything. Two of my closest friends are from a different denomination (I prefer Baptist – they prefer Pentecostal) and yet we love the same Lord and are filled with the same Spirit.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Leah Ness

      Exactly! It’s the same way with my friend and me; sometimes our discussions change each other’s minds and ideas, and sometimes we agree to disagree. But we’re always loving and respectful about it.
      Thanks for reading and for the feedback =)

  • kittysperson

    I really enjoyed this post. I enjoy a non-personal debate very much, though I do have to keep it in check because some people very close to me are really uncomfortable with confrontation. I think that’s another thing to think of before entering a debate, who else will be exposed to this and how will it effect them emotionally? It doesn’t usually bother me to be involved in a disagreement as long as it’s all non-personal, but one needs to be careful about such conversations. There are fine lines, I think. Keeping it non-personal takes a lot of sensitivity to others’ emotions, too. Good post 🙂

    • Leah Ness

      I definitely agree with you. I only have to spend five minutes on a political forum to see how personally people take other’s opinions. You definitely have to be respectful and tactful, and even then a debate may not bear fruit. Ideally, everyone would be comfortable enough in their identities to handle disagreement. My main point is that if we can decide that so far as it depends on us, we will be un-offendable, perhaps we can begin to encourage those around us to be un-offendable as well. Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed it =)

  • adamjamesw

    I’m just curious as to how you can welcome disagreement even though you explicitly state that there are points you will never reconsider… Any clarification on this would be good.

    • Leah Ness

      Of course =) I believe in absolutes. The very statement that there are no absolutes is itself an absolute. Therefore, there are certain opinions I hold that will not be shaken. But there are many more that I’d be willing to be proved wrong on (albeit after much discussion as I can be rather stubborn). If the latter, then I like to be questioned so I can either a) find out I’m wrong, or b) find out why I truly believe I’m right and possibly strengthen my argument. If the former, because God gave man free will and I’m not going to be the one to try and take that away. If I disagree with a person on a point that neither of us are willing to budge on, at the very least I will hopefully learn to see things from the other person’s point of view so that I can show respect, love, and compassion for them. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for reading =)

  • Perspective Collector

    Great post! Love it. I tend to agree with it all but love that you love debates. I can’t stand them – yet we still appreciate disagreements and knowing we could be wrong. I’ve never been argumentative or opinionated – to the point where people get frustrated at me. I’m the kind of person who will point out the other side no matter what – even if it’s my own side! Haha. I much prefer open discussion of all sides rather than one side arguing against another. Both ways challenge you and both ways can make you see where you might be wrong. So I’ve got nothing against other people debating, I just won’t engage in them though. This all makes me want to write a post too!

    • Leah Ness

      If you don’t enjoy debates, then I think you’re wise to avoid them because you probably wouldn’t get much out of them anyway. An open discussion can be every bit as edifying, if not more so. Any situation where people can love and listen despite disagreements is bound to bear some fruit. Thanks for reading!!

  • Perspective Collector

    Oh, and may I link to your blog?

  • Susan Irene Fox

    Leah, I love your phrase, be un-offendable. I’ve become more so in my, ah-hem, older-age, but I’m still growing and this is definitely something I’m going to work on. Joining in, though perhaps not so much to debate as to support. Glad to be here. 🙂

    • Leah Ness

      Thank you =) I’m so glad you found it helpful. I can’t remember for certain, but I think I got the term ‘un-offendable’ from the book The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. Though I didn’t agree with him 100%, it was definitely worth the read. Thank you so much for coming by and for your kind comment!

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