I MADE MY POINT (Communicating with someone who disagrees with you)
Is this necessary?
Communicate with disagreement.
Recently, I read an article that made a point I have been mulling over in my mind for a long time. This article was about a completely different subject, but the point was made nonetheless. I will get to that later.
It doesn't take long these days, after you turn your device on (computer, phone, tablet, and TV), to see something being broadcast about protests, anger, yelling, screaming, and name-calling. This guy's a Socialist, that guy's a Racist, that woman's a Criminal, that other guy's an Adulterer... the list goes on.
It seems that we are not very different from the 1st Century Roman empire (watch some movies like "Gladiator", you'll see what I mean). The MOB controlled the mood of the city and nation. If you could manipulate the mob, you could manipulate society. And, if you were a member of the "mob", you were a mindless "drone" that could not think for yourself, you just embraced whatever the rest of the crowd was doing. (Umm, when I say "mob", I mean the huge crowd, NOT "The Godfather".).
So, if the mob was mad about something, I guess I'm mad too. If the mob screamed in support of someone, I guess I like them too. Kind of a meaningless existence if you ask me. But this is nothing new.
So, these days, in an era where everyone is screaming and demanding their "rights" to be respected, but at the cost of those that disagree with them NOT being allowed to have THEIR rights, where violence breaks out at non-violent events, Where baseless and shallow name-calling not based in fact is the norm, where college students whine like toddlers and cower in spineless "fear" because "my feewings a hurt because I saw a candidate's name written in chalk on my campus... make the bad man stop"... WHAT in the name of all that is decent are we supposed to do?
First, decide to disassociate yourself from the "mob". Walk away. Say to yourself, "God made me an individual, I refuse to have my identity defined buy what 1,000 people around me a screaming about." I will NOT act like the crowd, I will think for myself, I will (in my case, because I am a follower of Jesus) pray for God's wisdom to guide me, not the general consensus of the masses. I WILL STAND UP FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN, but not because the mob yells it. It's because I truly believe it. And I believe it, NOT because it emotionally grabbed me. I believe it because I actually did my homework on the matter and know WHY I believe what I believe.
OK... once I have done that, how do I communicate with a person who disagrees with me? Someone on the other "side of the aisle"? I will go back to my opening statement, about the point a writer made.
Our problem is this - we hear others, NOT to understand and think, but to react. We engage in debate and argument to WIN, not to accomplish anything. We want to walk away being RIGHT, having destroyed the other person or group, not walk away having made a friend or built a relationship. It's like a badly written sit-com of the 90s, where making a political statement is more important than entertaining the people. We want to be the one with the last word, "well you are just blah blah blah blah." Snap fingers, turn our back on the "opponent" and walk away, and the live studio audience laughs, cheers, applauds, and the show is cancelled at the end of the season. Our problem is we want to WIN. What's wrong with that?
Winning is good for sports. Winning is good for competitions. Winning was good for Charlie Sheen I guess. AND, winning is good for an honest debate. But WINNING should never be the goal if what we are trying to do is build relationships. Here is the point the other writer made, and what I am making now:
We need to stop starting debates and arguments among ourselves. I mean US, the regular people of our society. The goal in a debate and argument is the same - to WIN. You out-argue your opponent(s) and walk away the victor, fist in the air, pats on the back. And you have accomplished nothing. This is what the masses do, the "mobs" - they scream and yell, thinking their point is better than the other, and the other does the same, then punches are thrown and adults act like toddlers and embarrass us to the rest of the world. But you made your point, didn't you? Yes you did, and looked like an idiot in the process.
What we need to do is start conversations. The goal is different. The goal is yes, to be HEARD and listened to, but also to HEAR and LISTEN to someone else. These are done, not by the masses, but by the individual. When you accomplish this goal, you have been heard, you HAVE heard, and you and the other person BOTH walk away winning, because you have made a friend that you can and will come back to and talk again. You don't have to sacrifice your principles, morals, or standards one bit. But you have built something instead of torn something down - a relationship.
Leave the debates to the politicians. For the rest of us, let's have conversations. Let's stop being pansies, and be willing to hear someone that has an idea that makes us uncomfortable. Let's actually talk. Let's build a friendship based on respect. Because, those open doors stay open, and the conversation never ends. The "winning" is the friendship that is built, and there is plenty of that to go around.
Stand up for what you believe in. Never lose an ounce of that. For ME, that is my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I will not give that up. I wasn't conned or talked into it, I surely cannot be argued out of it. But I am willing to have a conversation with an Atheist or agnostic or a person that just doesn't give a crap.
Step away from the mob, ignore the uncontrolled screaming of the masses and use the brain God gave you. And then let's get coffee and have a conversation, and both of us win.