Kevin Harney: Being Cordial Even When We Think Differently

Have you noticed the trend away from thoughtful conversation, civility, and compassion? Have you been struck by the increasingly combative nature of communication in the media, the political realm, the online world of social media, and culture in general?

It seems like people have a very hard time disagreeing while still respecting and loving each other.

In a growing number of situations, it seems like people believe that if we don’t agree on specific topics, we must be angry with each other. Or when we stand on the opposite side of the aisle, we hate each other. If we have an honest disagreement, it must ignite into some kind of combat.

I grew up in a home, and a time of history, when people could disagree and still love each other. I remember a time when people could talk civilly, express divergent points of view, and still have lunch, laugh, and do life together. As a matter of fact, I watched my dad and mom disagree with strong and articulate words on many topics and still love each other deeply.

My dad was a strong and articulate Republican. He believed what he believed and would express his views with clarity and conviction. My mom was a staunch Democrat. She headed up the local teachers’ association of the public schools and expressed her convictions openly and with passion and precision. I had the honor of doing my parent’s renewal of their wedding vows at their 50-year anniversary, just a few years before my mom passed away.

I can still remember my parents heading out to vote together, hand in hand. My dad would say something like, “We’re heading out to cancel each other’s vote.” He meant it. He knew that their votes would end up being a net zero because of their antithetical political convictions. My dad and mom believed in the political process and felt that voting was an honor and a privilege. They would remind us kids that many people, in many places, have never had this opportunity through history.

My parents modeled something that seems to be a lost art form in our world. We can disagree and still be civil, loving, and friendly!

In a conflicted, embattled, and embittered time, it is a perfect moment for Christians to lead the way in showing our communities and the world that it is possible to disagree strongly and still be kind, compassionate, and loving.

It is what our Savior did. And, it is what he expects of his followers.

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Source: Christianity Today