Before I started going to John Brown University, all the Christians in my life seemed to think the same way. I wasn’t really confronted with opinions that drastically differed from my own. Once I came to John Brown University, however, I learned that people do not always have to think the same way. I personally believe that it is through disagreements that we actually come to better ideas, because no one can be right at all times.
When disagreeing with someone, it is important to remain respectful. Here are a few tips for when disagreements come up:
Actually listen to what the other person has to say.
Often when people are in disagreement, they don’t really listen to one another. The person who is supposedly ‘listening’ is actually just trying to think about what they will say in response. This does not facilitate a healthy debate because someone is not trying to understand what the other person is saying. Understanding is necessary for a productive disagreement.
Assume the best about the other person.
When you disagree with a person, it’s easy to think that you’re smarter, have a better understanding, and are more caring than the person disagreeing with you. This way of viewing oneself rarely reflects reality. People you disagree with usually have good reasons for why they believe what they believe.
Recognize that you may not be right.
No one can be right at all times. No political party is always right, either. It’s okay to be confident in what you believe, but it’s also important to recognize that you may be wrong. To have a productive, respectful discussion, both parties must be humble in their opinions.
Overall, just be respectful of other people when you disagree. It is okay to be convicted in your opinions, but remember it is also okay for them to be convicted in their opinions.