“Raise your words,
not your voice.
It is rain that
Homosexuality. Democratic. Republican. Liberal. Conservative. White. Black. Courting. Dating. Finances. Theology. Spiritual Gifts. Alcohol. Target bathrooms.
That’s a fun list right? It’s full of words that cause strong, emotional reactions. I feel like the general reaction is, “If you don’t agree with me you’ve got to be ___.” Insert whatever insult or dismissive word you choose. Because people are passionate about those things. More often than not, we let our opinions trump other people’s value.
Now, to be honest, I’m a very opinionated person. Most of the time I know exactly what I think and I’m not afraid to share it. That’s just me.
If you’ve ever seen Pride and Prejudice (the new one), there’s a scene where an older lady with a high social status looks at the heroine and says with distain, “You give your opinion very decidedly for one so young.” I laugh every time. That’s the story of my life. However, I think a lot of the time we recognize our worst flaws in others the most. So, when I hear or see anyone being loud or rude with his or her opinions, I notice it.
I hate politics for this very reason. No one listens to one another. They believe so strongly that they are right, that everyone else must be wrong, that they avoid all kinds of human decency. I’ve never seen a politician or political person respect an opponent enough to listen to them. Everyone thinks they have it right. Their opinions must be right. I know I’ve acted that way towards others and I hate that.
When did we all get so prideful? What would happen if we accepted that we are not always right? If we started listening to people who are different from us? I wonder if we would come up with better ideas, plans, and solutions. If we worked together to formulate more diverse and equitable ideas. If we treated life as a collaborative effort, how would it change?
If we have to put someone else down to make our point, do we have much of a point anyway? It must not be a strong one.
Why do we put so little value in other people’s opinions? Why do we refuse to respect our fellow man?
I’m not writing this because I believe I respect everyone or even accomplish this well. But it is something I’m striving for. Respect is a tenant of my life and something I’m constantly working on. I invite you to join me. I beg you actually. I think we can do a lot in this world. But I think we need more than one voice. In most debates, neither side is wholly right. Most the time both sides are sorta right and sorta wrong. What if we started working together? Blending ideas to form new ones?
Things could look so different. Even if you can’t find anything redeeming in another person’s opinions, they are still people. God still made them. He crafted them, loves them, died for them. Their value is immeasurable in God’s eyes. Should we not treat them with the utmost respect?
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Pride is a real struggle my friends. It’s so easy to think that we have all the answers. Especially, as Christians sometimes we think that loving Jesus means we know more than other people. In reality, loving Jesus means we know how to love. We know how to operate in a world that’s broken. We know how to show mercy and grace. Yes, God gives wisdom. Some Christians are crazy smart and have come up with amazing ideas. I’m not saying Christian opinions don’t matter or aren’t important. But rather, before you speak, think about how you are treating other. How can we show love through our opinions?
Maybe that means listening to someone’s ideas when you do agree. Maybe that means not arguing with a friend who is on the other end of the political spectrum. Maybe that means not posting something nasty on someone’s Facebook page. Maybe it means loving and showing kindness to a transgender person in the bathroom, not matter your opinion. For me, I am constantly working on my tone of voice and facial expressions. I tend to be dismissive of certain opinions. I have a hard time listening when I know I don’t agree.
I don’t know your struggles. But I know it’s hard. Trust me, I got you there. But this is so worthwhile. Obeying God’s mandates on our lives is just one way to honor Him but so many blessings come from this. I truly believe that living in a way that is respectful and honoring will change your circumstances. I think your relationships will be stronger. Your friendships will go deeper. And you will be able to meet and impact so many more people that are just different than you are.
Y’all this is just as much a reminder for myself as it is to you. So, I hope this encourages you as you go through your week. I challenge each of you to practice peace, love, and respect when hard conversations come up. It’s so hard. Yelling back or being dismissive comes much easier than forgiving and listening. But God’s way is always better even in its hardship. So, please join me as I fight for more peace in my relationships.
Let me know if I can be praying for you in a specific way! Have a lovely week my friends.