I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve never been in a real fistfight. I’ve been in skirmishes and shuffles, but I’ve never punched anyone in the face or taken a left hook to the eye.
You might think I’m a wuss, and you might be right. But I’ve just never been someone that has a lot to prove in that manner. I just don’t like getting in fights with people, and I’ve always done my best to avoid it. As a kid, I was never the biggest one on the playground so I got good at making friends.
As my life progressed, I was so good at being friends with people that when the time came for me to actually disagree with someone, it would make me all bent out of shape and insecure. I hated it. I hated thinking that we had to be at odds. To state the obvious, I was taking it way too personally.
After college and working some crappy jobs, I am not like that anymore. I still don’t go out looking for debates, but I don’t shrink back away from disagreements. And I don’t let it wreck my mind state.
First off, I know I’m not a genius and I have been wrong many times, and I’m willing to be wrong again. I like learning and I like processing what I’ve heard or read.
Secondly, I’ve come to understand that someone disagreeing with you is one of the best things they can do for you. Again, I don’t love it when it happens, especially when people want to debate stupid stuff. But when it’s something that matters, a disagreement is a good chance for you to figure out why exactly you believe what you believe.
To hit a little closer to home for some people (and myself): I think a lot of Christians need to get out of their belief circles and mix up with some people who believe differently. You don’t have to go out ready to prove everyone wrong, because honestly you probably won’t. I think a lot of us have beliefs that we spout off, but when they are challenged, we are not sure why we believe them. We just kind of do.
I wouldn’t advise you to get around jerky people who thrive off of disagreements, but allow yourself to be tested. Then, go home and do your research. I’ve had people disagree with me on some big issues over the years, and all it ended up doing was helping me dig deeper and solidify my faith and my facts.
If we can learn to disagree in love and respect, we can be some pretty amazing thinkers.