How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable!
Susie and her husband Jack were backing out of their driveway when she commented, “Our house looks rather plain. It needs some bricks to give it more curb appeal.” Jack, who tends to be argumentative, immediately responded, “No, it just needs painting.” Susie, who has had extensive training in effective communication, informed him that she was put off by his dismissive attitude. She further explained that good communicators know how to comment without rebutting what someone else has said–unless they are factually wrong.
I see similar scenarios being played out frequently on social media and in Bible studies among “strong Christians”. I think it’s often due to ego, poor communication skills, or emotional/spiritual immaturity when you do not know how to disagree without being disagreeable. It can be a big turn off. Listen folks, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO NEGATE WHAT SOMEONE SAYS IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH IT–ESPECIALLY IF IT’S A MATTER OF OPINION– or your limited knowledge of the subject, misapplication of a Scripture, or other causes. Trust me, you will NOT likely change anybody’s mind about the matter. It just may drive a wedge in your relationship and disadvantage you in the future.
When you have a different stance, you could simply respond with, “Another thing to consider” rather than “No, that’s not it; the REAL problem is…” Remember that your opinion (versus objectively documented facts) is just that–YOUR OPINION. It is not superior to anyone else’s and not the last word on a subjective matter. So, respect other folks’ right to have an independent view. Seriously, will it affect the quality of your personal life or well being? Can you not be happy or at peace unless you minimize others or prove to be “right”? Why, I’ve seen good friends end relationships because they were offended by this kind of communication. (Obviously, I feel pretty strongly about this!)
Disagreements and differences are inevitable since we are not all carbon copies of each other, so start today to look at how you handle them. Is anger, sarcasm, or a negative tone really necessary when expressing a different view? Can you imagine the inner peace you will experience when you can respond calmly to opinions that go against your way of thinking?
Please hear my heart and consider your ways if you are guilty of disagreeing in a disagreeable fashion. It is time to take your talking to another level, We are better than this. Plus, we have a Supernatural Helper who can empower us to succeed. Try this quick Scripture-based prayer when tempted to go off track: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).”