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Disagreeing….

I’ve had a couple of instances recently where I had sharp disagreements with what people were saying.  Interestingly, I handled each of them in a different manner.  Let me tell you the stories.

*****

A couple of Saturday mornings ago I heard a knock at my door.  I started for the door and immediately turned around.  I went back to our family room and retrieved my Bible.  Why?  Two men were standing at my door with Bibles in hand.  I groaned a bit because I knew who they were.

Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There is Kingdom Hall within about ten miles of my house.  At least once a month, if not more, the JW’s arrive on a Saturday morning or leave literature on my door.  This time I wasn’t caught off guard.  I went with my Bible knowing what was coming.

It didn’t go well.  Here is why.  We had fundamental differences with each other’s beliefs.  They attempted to prove to me through their Bible that I was wrong.  That was their tactic.  We disagreed in every way that you could imagine.  They tried to tell me that my Bible differed from the original language.  I asked them if they could show me that in my Greek New Testament.  They grew more agitated and angry with everything I countered them with.

They couldn’t argue me into believing what they did.  I couldn’t argue them into believing what I believe.

They left with me praying for their salvation.  They grew even madder at me.

*****

I preached at a campground each Sunday.  Normally, we have a great time.  I preach my little sermon.  The folks smile and tell me they appreciate what I do.  We all leave singing Kum-ba-yah.

Not one Sunday recently.

A retired pastor decided that he needed to talk to me afterwards.  He told me that I did a great job, but then proceeded to point out to me everything that I did wrong.

He disagreed with delivery and some of my points.  I could tell that we had some theological differences.  I wasn’t sure what his point was until his wife jumped in.

She said that he had to get his preaching in for the day and I was the recipient.

I just nodded and smiled.  I’m not sure that he realized that he lost me fairly quickly into the conversation.

*****

Here’s my point.  We often talk about disagreeing in unity.  Most of the time that is a farce.  Few of us try, in any way, to disagree in unity.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses were not interested in trying to really reach common ground with me.  They were very interested in being right and proving me wrong.  I simply tried to parry their attacks and defend myself.  Disagreeing led to nothing.

The retired pastor was not interested in much but being heard.  He wanted me to know where I stood in his professional opinion.  We disagreed and it led to nothing.

Intentionally disagreeing rarely leads to much of anything other than bad feelings.  All we end up doing is alienating the other.  Meaningful dialogue rarely happens.  The JW’s were interested in proving to me that they were right.  The retired pastor was interested in proving to me that he was right.

And there were no winners in either situation.

Do you gain much from arguing and disagreeing with others?

  1. rickd3352013
    July 22, 2013 at 2:22 am | #1

    There have been times when someone has disagreed with me and pointed out where I was – in fact – wrong; further, it was done lovingly, with the sole purpose of my growth. If we’re talking about an argument like that? Sure – it may need to happen (1 Cor 11:18-19 – who’s right and wrong gets pointed up there, but not to anyone’s credit).

    JW’s and hard-core fundamentalist door-to-door salesmen for Jesus get lumped into the same boat for me. If I can see them coming, I’ll not engage – the only thing that feels good about arguing with either group is the same thing that feels good when you stop beating your head against a brick wall. I have to have a relationship with you before I’m willing to listen to your arguments about beliefs, and if all you’re trying to do is sell me your religion, I don’t need it, thanks.

    Good post, Larry!

    • July 23, 2013 at 5:22 am | #2

      Right, I’m talking about arguing just to prove that you’re right, not lovingly to benefit someone.

  2. July 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm | #3

    I know exactly where you are coming from and you are not going to cause a JW to back down. We had three at work (when I was working) and I showed them love. Praying for them is good too. And the pastor who needed someone to preach to, his wife probably got her ear full usually and was happy he found you!
    I found you on Rick’s Saturday Shortcut list
    http://www.plannedpeasanthood.com/2013/07/saturday-shortcuts-9/

  1. July 27, 2013 at 1:10 am | #1

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