It seems as though we’ve always got something to disagree about, after all the Internet has made us all experts on everything. It stands to reason as we have more and more access to data, we will inevitably find more and more things on which to disagree. There is nothing inherently wrong with disagreeing, after all, God made us each unique, but we can disagree and get along. We can’t elevate every disagreement to the level of heresy.
Technology folks have been arguing about some things since the beginning of technology. Mac or Windows? iPhone or Android?
Most of these debates can never be settled and we should stop trying. Instead of trying to convince folks that our view is right and getting emotionally involved in opinions that don’t matter we should be using that energy to find opportunities to serve those around us. Yamaha or Allen & Heath? Shure or Audio-Technica?
My favorite color is blue, and not just any blue but the blue the sky is at 8000 feet on a crisp day up the side of a mountain. While a specific opinion on my favorite color that does not and should not mean that I can’t respect someone who likes the blue color the sky is at 7000 feet on a crisp day up the side of a mountain. Or even, perish the thought, someone who prefers a drastically different color, like orange. McDonald’s or Burger King? Chick Fil-A or Kentucky Fried Chicken?
Religion and politics have always been volatile discussion topics but not every disagreement rises to the level of religion and politics. Vote your conscience but love those with whom you disagree. Our nation was founded on those who disagreed and yet were able to compromise on some extremely divisive issues. Democrat or Republican? Those who wear masks or those who don’t wear masks?
The Bible is clear that we are to hate sin but love the sinner. Unfortunately, today it seems we hate both. The Bible says in Matthew 7:1 that we are not to assume motive or intent, and yet we do it all the time with those who disagree with us. After all, if they disagree then everything else they do and think must be wrong. One assumption leads to another and before you know it you are back to not only hating sin but also hating sinners, even when no sin is involved, like one’s favorite color. My favorite sports team or your favorite sports team.
Purdue University or Indiana University (Ahem . . . One of these schools put the first and last footprints on the moon and was attended by me. #BoilerUp)
(Or you can insert your own college rivalry here.)
Without civility and respect for others when disagreeing, we won’t be able to accomplish the church’s mission. Social media is full of folks arguing, spreading arguments, and sharing misinformation to promote their viewpoints on issues that just don’t matter. Perhaps we should all be more like the Bereans in Acts 17 and spend more time studying and examining before arguing and sharing. Disagree and get along. Disagree with love and look at others with whom you disagree as individuals to be loved not as disagreements to be battled.
We can disagree and get along, and still keep the main thing the main thing, but remember: not everything is the main thing.
Jonathan Smith is an author, conference speaker, and the Director of Technology at Faith Ministries in Lafayette, IN. You can reach Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @JonathanESmith.