My husband and I will host approximately 40 members of his side of the family for Thanksgiving dinner. If your family is at all like ours, there will be plenty of political and other discussions. I just want to caution all of you not to fall for the evil one’s attempt to mar the day when we are supposed to be giving thanks to GOD. So, here’s my brief advice on having a victorious, peaceful day. (The truth is that it works for non-holiday times as well.)
1) LISTEN TO ALL DISSENTING OPINIONS. Really listen with an intent to understand. Remember that the same letters that spell L-I-S-T-E-N spell “S-I-L-E-N-T. Ask clarifying questions. The inability to do this is a sign of spiritual and emotional immaturity. This is a good opportunity to develop this skill. Remember that others may not know how to do it.
2) DO NOT JUDGE A PERSON’S CHARACTER OR INTELLIGENCE BY THEIR OPINION. Opinions are just like a derriere; everybody has one. (Yes, I said that!!). Don’t sigh and roll your eyes or give them that “idiot, did you drink the kool-aid” look. They are entitled to think independently.
3) STAY CALM; SET THE EXAMPLE. Unless someone has a hearing problem, there is a no need to raise your voice in discussions. Take the really high road. Just say, “I hear you and I respectfully disagree.”
4) AVOID CONTENTIOUS DISCUSSIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE; CHOOSE RATHER TO USE THE TIME TO EMPOWER EACH OTHER. If you are the host or have influence over the group, you may want to give some guidelines before the discussion starts. Guidelines such as no name calling, raised voices, etc. Most of you know that I’m an eternal teacher, so I’ll be attempting to make sure folks leave enriched in their knowledge about–whatever!