I've had it with your arguments.
I'm right, and you're wrong.
You will never. NEVER. Convince me of your side.
Country music stinks.
Okay, I'm being silly because I don't hate country music as much as I say I do (I actually hate it more), but I know people, a LOT of people, who approach disagreements in this way. They get riled up, and they are willing to sacrifice friendships with people who don't believe what they believe.
I am an arguer by nature. I love debating with other people, but I often run into this problem: I put so much emotion into my opinions and my beliefs that I get defensive and, ultimately, am easily offended by the people who will disagree with me.
Why is this a bad thing, you ask? Isn't it good to be passionate about what I believe in?
I'll ask this: is the passion worth the loss of relationships with fellow Christians or non-Christians?
I'm reading a fantastic book called "Everybody Always" written by Bob Goff; it's all about loving not just the people we want to love but also the people we don't agree with or find difficult. Goff, a lawyer, writes that "there is a big difference between being kind and being right." (pg. 3)
What he means is that, yes, I may be on the "right" side of an argument over a social issue, but I can still lose because I was too busy being right to be kind. What good does proving a point do if it doesn't resolve conflict or offer an opportunity to understand a friend's differing opinion better?
We can't understand people if we don't listen to people. If we are so consumed by being right over other's wrongs, then we lose sight of loving others. Our fight is not against them.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
There is an enemy who can easily poison our minds and deceive our hearts into thinking members of our communities are the "real" enemy. Nancy is not the enemy because she supports Trump. Rebecca is not the enemy because she is Pro-Choice. Kyle is not the enemy because he believes in treating ALL people equally no matter their sexual identity. John is not the enemy because he doesn't believe in God.
Our enemy is the devil, whose sole purpose is to dissuade us from loving God and loving others.
That's not to say that we shouldn't argue or stand up for what we believe, but there are healthy and peaceful ways of doing so. If you believe there is social injustice occurring, then you should be using your voice to fight against it; in fact, the Bible insists on it.
A healthy way is NOT confronting someone while disguised by a computer screen. The online world can often warp a person's tone or choice of words into something much uglier than it could have been in-person.
Someone who believes something different than what I believe should not be my enemy. I should not box myself away from politically or socially opposite people. If anything, I should surround myself with them so that they become people to me again instead of walking challenges to my arguments.
If we constantly make the opposing side the "bad guys", then how are we supposed to reach them for Jesus?
It's healthy to surround yourself with people who believe what you believe; it's important for me to stay connected with fellow Christians because they hold me accountable when I sin, and they comfort me when I am walking through hardships. They are the ones who will encourage me in my walk with Jesus.
But Jesus walked with unbelievers, too. He ate with them. He washed their feet. He didn't allow their actions to influence or change His faith in the Father, but He also didn't avoid the hard conversations and the difficult people. And, in these moments, He shared the love of God, even though not everyone accepted it.
God loves us no matter what we believe in; isn't that crazy? His love extends even to those who deny His existence. That means, then, that we can at least try to love the person who is difficult to talk to, who doesn't believe that God is who He says He is, or who loves country music.