You’re never going to agree with every sermon your pastor preaches. You certainly won’t agree with each blog post that online magazine prints. And there’s a good chance you won’t agree with half of your Facebook friends’ political views.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to disagree with someone. I’m actually the type of person that believes people bond through conflict. However, that bonding can only happen if you disagree in a good way. When you are respectful and loving in disagreement, relationships get stronger.
Here’s what it takes to turn disagreement into an opportunity to bond.
1. Listen first.
Assume your friend is rational. Start from that assumption, then ask for them to help you see how they see. You probably won’t fully see their perspective, but you’ll at least be able to identify areas of agreement. Agreement causes common ground which will help you emerge from the disagreement bonded together.
2. Hold your tongue in public.
Don’t disagree on Facebook. Don’t do it in the middle of a group of people. While you might actually be able to sway someone toward your way of thinking, public humiliation will often cause them to stick to their guns even more. Disagree in private where there’s no social pressure complicating the situation.
3. Hold your tongue when it’s an emotional issue.
Many issues aren’t 100% rational. There are emotions tied to so many things. Immigration. Abortion. Gun control. While there are facts in these situations, often personal experience brings emotions that will trump the facts. When someone has been deeply affected by an issue, you probably don’t need to argue with them. It’ll damage their emotions instead of tweaking their thought process.
4. Disagree without the indignation.
Easier said than done. What sparked this blog post was a Christian blog site that was ticking me off with their style of articles. On top of that, I’d recently heard a podcasted sermon that I felt trampled all over the grace of God. I understand indignation.
But really, as I examine myself, that indignation is really just self-righteousness. There’s no place for that in disagreement. Table your indignation and instead, approach with love and humility.
5. Pray instead of win.
Finally, there will come a point when you have to agree to disagree. That’s okay. And most disagreements don’t warrant convincing someone one way or another. However, if you feel the issue is of such utmost importance, choose to pray for your friend instead of battering them into being convinced. Pray that God changes their heart or pray that God changes yours.