So, I recently did something cringeworthy. And it’s not the first time. So I’m calling myself out on it, and I’m calling out other people who do it too. Turns out, there are a lot of us.
Someone who disagreed with me on the internet told me to “have discernment” because of my views. And I ruffled inside. But instead of directly addressing the condescending element of it, I said that I hoped I had misunderstood it as such, and I reminded everyone that kindness is important, or something to that effect. Either way, it was a half-baked attempt to address the real issue.
And then, at the end of the discussion, the woman I was speaking with made this statement:
“I hope the Holy Spirit leads you to the truth of God.”
This isn’t the first or last time someone has said something like that to me. Here is an actual representation of my face in that moment:
I did NOT feel the love.
Can we please talk about why we as Christians need to learn how to disagree without throwing God, our faith, or the Bible at each other as weapons?
Can we please agree that condescending statements disguised as nice statements are actually the worst?
Can we please disagree BETTER?
Can we be peacemakers instead of peacekeepers?
Before we as Christians make the following statements (or ones like them) out of disagreement, we should take a step back and ask ourselves if we are actually being sincere, or if we’re being passive aggressive:
“I’ll pray for you”
“I would encourage you to seek the Lord in this”
“I pray that the Holy Spirit leads you closer to God’s truth”
“I believe in scripture, not in my feelings.”
These words might look nice or true, but they’re actually ugly.
A bomb is a bomb, whether it’s thrown right in your face, or whether its handed to you, wrapped in the prettiest of packages.
I’ve also heard or read people excusing their perpetual right-ness by labeling it as “correction,” even “gentle correction.”
Here’s the thing, Christians: sometimes, when someone holds a different opinion than we do, it’s not a matter of “gentle correction.” It’s a matter of different viewpoints.
Sometimes, when someone disagrees with you, it isn’t because they’re basing their opinions on feelings instead of truths. It’s because they interpret things differently.
There are different interpretations of scripture. We as Christians have different views on just about everything. We need to remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ FIRST when in discussion.
I’ve been super guilty of doing things like these sometimes. And if I don’t, let me make it clear that I WANT TO. Because really, there’s something that feels smugly fantastic about being the one-upper. It’s not good. But it feels good.
I totally understand why this happens. We have been conditioned to be sweet, to be gentle. We have the fruit of the spirit thrown at us almost daily on Facebook or at church or at home or at Bible study. It’s often taught backwards. We have learned to be behavior focused.
We have been told to be nice, to look nice, to say nice things.
But niceness is not the same thing as kindness.
Niceness keeps the surface pretty. It’s polite. It’s proper. It’s polished. We can SEE it, but it’s not always real. It blows away easily. And if you peel back the layers, niceness is often a cover for anger or pain.
Niceness observes another from OVER THERE.
Kindness seeks to heal. It looks below the surface. It seeks to connect and to understand. We can FEEL it, and when we can feel things, they hang around for a little bit longer.
Kindness steps into someone else’s shoes.
This is a learning process. There are actually whole courses and programs dedicated to teaching assertiveness, because it’s not always an easy thing. It’s often uncomfortable. And sometimes it’s easier to be overly pleasant or overly defensive than simply uncomfortable.
I would like to learn, to be more skilled, more understanding.
Let’s learn how to disagree better.
Let’s be honest AND straightforward AND kind.
Let’s fix this.