Rightly Disagreeing

You can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they treat people who disagree with them.

For example, in court the most successful attorneys are those who treat opposing counsel with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. Petulance is counter-productive. Pettiness impedes.

I’m told it’s the same in other professions, whether plumbing or politics, engineering or education, baking or bar tending, medicine or music. No matter your occupation or pastime, how you treat those around you – especially those who oppose you – reflects your true character.

And you are to reflect Christ to the world.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17, 21.)

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15 Responses to Rightly Disagreeing

  1. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    A few minutes on social media can give you a good sense of people’s character. Not that we should judge others superficially on the basis of a few Tweets or something … but it does become pretty clear when people start disagreeing with one another’s perspectives.

  2. Linn says:

    I appreciate my current school because getting along well is just as importan as our teaching skills. It has made this place a wonderful school in which to teach.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I had a conversation with someone recently whose work I admire, but who has very different positions on some political and social issues. I thought this person was someone with whom I could respectfully disagree, so when they seemed to be asking questions with an open mind, I responded. Boy, had I misjudged this person’s character! Similar stories are far too common, sadly.

  4. I have had worthwhile conversations with atheists. I always sympathize with them and they appreciate it. Great article.

  5. Laura says:

    I have no idea why two sensible grown up people can disagree on a topic without looking evil in the eyes of another. I don’t particularly like strange dogs. Does that make me bad? It is not personal to the dog owner but I am not going to fake a response. Friendships should be based on honesty unless there is some reason to be less honest. I follow my dad’s advice and treat other people as I would like to be treated. It is a simple rule to follow.

    • Linn says:

      My best friend from elementary school is way to the left and I am a free-thinking centrist. I am conservative on some issues. After 50 years of friendship, we talk about everything and anything because we esteem and respect one another. Sometimes we also have better insight on a topic because we can’t all be experts in everything. That’s the way good friendships work.

  6. Donna Gonzalez says:

    So true and very timely Tim. Several things come to mind as I read your article. One is how God in the bible, spoke to people that He confronted even when angry. He’s not like people when they’re angry who attack in speech with rudeness, vitriolic spitefulness, bitterness, malice, hatefulness or meaness. His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts. Which alone should give pause…like…Wow! How incredibly advanced and wise His ways and thinking that cannot even compare to our puny ways or thinking! Sorry, got side tracked…. God’s words accept or reject, condone or condem what a person has done, or He calls them out by their sin (harlot, theif, blasphemer, etc) but He doesn’t use His words to destroy the self esteem, worth or dignity of that person. I’m always amazed when I read in the O.T. His incredible patience and the exact words He chooses. It’s human tendancy to call someone out a dummy (or worse!) Ok, I just remembered… His Son DID let loose and call some Pharisees/Saducees and teachers of the law “fools”, “white washed sepulcures” and “a brood of vipers”…..but overall what I mean is God has and continues to be what 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, because love is one of several aspects of His character. Secondly, as one matures in Christ, knowing who we are in Him helps us to realize the magnitude of what we text or say can and does have a huge impact on how others percieve who Jesus is and it’s His reputation not ours that is honored or disgraced in the eyes/mind of others. This reminds me that it’s not at all about me but all about HIM. Lastly, just knowing that every idle word spoken or thing done will have to be given an account for on Judgement Day….yikes! Constantly reminds me to be highly mindful of what i say, text or do now! And no…i am still far from perfect but am amazed how Jesus used His words wisely and with prudence.

    • Tim says:

      That patience that is so evident in the interactions in the relationship God has with people amazes me. Who am I that God would be patient with me, love me? It’s remarkable.

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