January 24-25, 2009
AGREEING ABOUT DISAGREEMENTS, PART TWO
by Charles R. Swindoll
As much as we may pursue peace, and as positive and tactful as we may be, there will still be occasions when disagreements arise. As one wag put it, "Life ain't no exact science," which brings me to the last two of four facts with which everyone (well, most of us) would agree. (I shared the first two facts yesterday.)
In every disagreement there are the same two ingredients: (a) an issue and (b) various viewpoints. The issue is usually objective and involves principles. The viewpoints are subjective and involve personalities. And therein lies the sum and substance of a clash, which could be defined as a disagreement over an issue because of opposing points of view. I will be candid with you: Every time I have remembered those two basic ingredients in the midst of a disagreement, I have been able to keep calm and think clearly. When I have forgotten them, almost without exception I have failed to negotiate my way through the clash with wisdom. Furthermore, I have regretted something I said in the heat of verbal exchange. Those two simple ingredients have never failed to help me keep cool. Why? The next fact will explain.
In many disagreements each side is valid. As "liberal" as you may think that sounds, chew on it before you toss it aside. On numerous occasions when I have encountered a brother or sister who felt as strongly as I about the other side of the argument, I came to realize it was not so much an I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong matter as it was an I-see-it-from-this-perspective-and-you-from-that-perspective matter. Both sides of most disagreements have strengths and weaknesses, which means neither side is an airtight slam dunk. Nevertheless, any disagreement can lead to a serious, permanent rift in a relationship . . . and sometimes (this may surprise you) that is God's will. There are times God chooses to spread the good news of His Son rapidly in different directions by having two capable servants of His have a major disagreement. As they separate and minister effectively in two different locations, He accomplishes a greater objective than if they were in agreement.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.