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Living with People Who Disagree with You

Living with People Who Disagree with You

 
By:  Mission Team September 15, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Courage, #Failure, #God, #Humility, #Leadership, #Struggle, #Trust

Everybody has lived with someone whom they disagree with. It’s part of life. Maybe it’s something simple like “Oh
I want the couch over there.” “Mmmm I don’t know, I think it looks great where it is.”
Or it could be a little more serious: “Oh no honey, you are not going out dressed like that.” “Ugh Mom just let me go everyone else is wearing it.” A lot of times when talking about hot topic issues, people start yelling and getting upset because the person they are talking to just can’t seem to see things “their way”. But it is possible to talk to someone you disagree with, and it can be a very fruitful conversation (or series of conversations).

In my senior year of college, I lived with four guys, three of whom were protestant. I was very much into my faith at this point as were the other guys. This led to debates about the MOST important thing. The thing that created all other things. The thing that is responsible for our eternal salvation. Yes, the debates we would get into were about God.

One of my roommates was the son of a former pastor of a Protestant Church. He was very open about talking about his faith and loved to ask questions about mine. We would talk for hours some days. I would ask him things like “With all these different denominations how do you know you’re in the right one?” and “The Catholic Church has apostolic succession to back up our teaching authority. Where does yours come from?” He would ask me things like “Why does the Catholic Church claim that it is ‘The Church’ that Christ established. Aren’t I in ‘The Church’ if I love the Lord and pursue Him with my whole heart?” and “Why do you guys need to tell your sins to a priest for them to be forgiven? Can’t I just tell God directly and He will forgive them?”

These conversations certainly had the potential to turn into yelling matches. The eternal state of our soul was indirectly being questioned here. But the conversations very rarely elevated to that level. This was largely due to the willingness of each of us to listen. Rather than just tell our opinions or spit data at the other person, each of us would respond with the intent of explaining why we do whatever was called into question. Even more importantly, while one of us was talking, the other was intently listening. If something came up that seemed controversial to the other person, he would call it into question. It was through these conversations that I gained a deeper understanding of Protestantism and my friend gained a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church.

If you present your beliefs or your argument in a logical way and then listen to what the other person has to say (listen as in let them finish speaking before you begin to speak), a ton of progress can be made. The only real way to change someone’s belief is through love. To love means to desire the good of another. If another person does not believe that the bottom line of why you are telling them this is because you want what is best for them, then they will be more hostile and less willing to change. I love my roommate, and he loves me. We openly told that to each other. If debates started to get heated, we would not walk away without verbally affirming each other of our love and desire to see the other grow.

We do not live together anymore, but I had the opportunity to visit him. During the course of our visit, we started talking about the great debates we used to have. Towards the end of the conversation, he told me “I have learned more about the Catholic Church by talking with you than ever before in my life. You did not shout at me and get upset when explaining yourself. Throughout the entire conversation I knew I was being listened to.” I replied “Bro, I feel the same way about the Protestant Church. I understand so much more about it and I never felt attacked by what you were saying.”

Moral of this story: when you are entering a debate, always be prepared to take two “L’s”. You must be ready to love and to listen. This is how hearts and minds are changed while relationships are built.

silhouette of man and woman under yellow sky photo – Free Baker beach Image on Unsplash
man in black and red jacket sitting on orange sofa photo – Free Couch Image on Unsplash
"Martin Luther visits Dresden"by chop1n is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
man holding telephone screaming photo – Free Phone call Image on Unsplash
human hand neon signage photo – Free Grey Image on Unsplash

 


About the Author Mission TeamThe mission team is made up of writers within the HN team who serve for a time with our ministry to Awaken the World to the Power of God's Love. Through their efforts, their vision of making a world where no one suffers alone is an encouragement to many hurting people of all ages. 


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