Over the past months, weeks and days I’ve had a lot of thoughts run through my head. Clearly the world is going crazy and people around us become more selfish, evil and deceived. But you know what, as a Christian we know all this is supposed to happen and technically we don’t need to be worried or scared, but that last part is not that easy. I do get worried a lot because I care about the people around me and I don’t want them to go on a wrong path, but they have their agency as well and I have to respect that.
Many issues are being debated at the moment and arguments about political issues, religious stuff and other things are all over social media. It is frustrating to watch how aggressive some people are (on both sides) and that they attack you as soon as you disagree with them. I also love how people think that just because you disagree on issues, lifestyles and opinions it must mean you hate the other person and you can’t be friends. That is nonsense and if people would really think about it they would understand it too. One of my all time favorite quotes (which I shared a ton on social media) is this one:
I am a firm believer that everyone has the right to share their opinion and I will respect and accept that. However, that goes for me too. If you can share freely what you think and believe so can I and both of us should be kind and gracious about it. We will never agree on everything and it amazes me that some people think we have to. I’ve had my fair share of discussions and I am happy to discuss, however, if the other person is trying to argue about it or wants to force their opinion on me, I will refuse to go that route. If I know I am right about something, or my feeling tells me what the other person beliefs is wrong, it won’t matter what anyone says to me because I will stand up for what I believe is right. I am not asking those who disagree with me to love what I have to say or agree with me all of a sudden, but I am asking for respect and tolerance. Do you know what tolerance means? A lot of people seem to think that tolerance means I agree and have to support them in what they say or do. That is wrong though. I looked up the meaning of the word at one point and it still seems to surprise a lot of people when I tell them. “Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.” So as I said respect another person, but you don’t have to agree.
Some people seem to think that in order to love people you have to agree on everything. In the many discussions I’ve had with people, I heard that many times. I always respond by letting them know that I disagree with my husband (and other family members) too, does that mean that I hate them? No, I still love them, but we just don’t see eye to eye in certain things. I also point out that I will always love my children and there will still be times when I don’t like what they do. You can be friends with people and disagree. It is possible and I will continue to believe that no matter what. Yes I have been unfriended on Facebook because people didn’t like my opinions. I found that sad because that shows me that they are only willing to accept you as a friend if you agree on everything. Makes me wonder how these people weather marriage and other family relationships. 😉 (And by the way, you can unfollow people, at least on Facebook, if they constantly post stuff you disagree with. I have done that plenty of times. I am still friends with them, I still go to their page and comment on the things I want to comment on, but I don’t have to see their posts all the time. Works out great!)
In one of the last discussions I had, I said the same thing like I pointed out above that I disagree with my husband at times too and still love him. Some of the responses I got really amazed me in a “I-can’t-believe-people-really-think-like-that” way. 😉 People responded that if we had an disagreement on something that would affect him personally and I wasn’t supportive I couldn’t really love him and it was actual hate because I wanted him to be unhappy. I was like really? So someone I love decides to do something that clearly is wrong, and goes against everything I believe in, I should just go along with it because if I don’t it might make them unhappy? Sorry, but I don’t think that’s how things work. We will all make decisions that aren’t always right and people who tell us that’s wrong don’t hate us but they love us enough to try to stop us from making a mistake. If my kids are about to make decisions that are not okay, I will warn them, I will let them know about possible consequences and I will let them know that I don’t agree with it. I still love them and the reason I am stepping up is because I love them. And guess what, they still have the chance to make their mistake. I can’t force them to obey me, I can’t force them to listen to me, but I can let them know what I think and what might happen if they do what they want to do. Also, if you can only be happy if everyone around agrees with you at all times and is 100% supportive than you will never be happy. I try to agree with my loved one’s as much as possible, but I will not go against my values, standards and my faith. It is more important to me that God agrees with me, and I am on His side, than doing something or supporting something that I know in my hear to be wrong. Luckily my husband isn’t like that (I was just using him as an example of how disagreeing and such works), but some of our family members and friends might be.
I realized something though and that is that those who are the most aggressive about a topic, issue and discussion and are looking for reasons to either force their opinions on you or want to argue are the ones who don’t use logic but only emotions. Have you ever tried arguing, never mind discussing 😉 ,with an emotional person? It is impossible because they don’t think clearly and don’t listen either because they already made up their minds. I make up my mind too, but I will still listen if the conversation is civil and kind and even though I won’t change my mind, I will try to respect them for who they are and accept that they have a different opinion. Just dealing with emotions though makes the other person very unpleasant and you won’t get anywhere because the more you try to reason with them, the more they will respond in an aggressive way. That’s when I say my favorite line: “It seems we have to agree to disagree.” The arguer doesn’t like that, but I am not willing to discuss with people like that because it doesn’t matter how much facts and truth you use, they won’t care and they won’t listen. One of my friends taught me the coolest thing years ago and I have been using that ever since. She said to me: “I won’t JADE myself!”. Confused I looked at her wondering what that meant. JADE = Justify, argue, defend nor explain. So yes I won’t JADE myself because it won’t get us anywhere and just makes everyone angry, frustrated and upset. Sometimes it is best to agree to disagree.