Disagreeing agreeably in a polarised world and church
Note: while this article is aimed at real Christians, I daresay a lot of it will be of general interest.
I feel slightly virtuous given within the last day sincere Christians have posted on social media their opinions on matters of importance that I did strongly disagree with and, given there is a time to speak etc. and a time not to, I decided in these cases not to, which given my history of weighing in with what I considered to be my correct opinion, even when not asked for or, as it turned out, welcomed, I thought represented progress. I even counselled a friend, who shared my views on the subjects discussed, to do the same!
Christians disagreeing, particularly among the most earnest and well read, is nothing new. Often there is a sad ending when Satan’s divide and rule strategy appears to have worked when brothers fall out irrevocably on matters where one might have thought such division was unnecessary and avoidable, making all three of the above memes pertinent. Of course, issues change over the centuries and our forefathers would not have had to come to a view on the two issues I have in mind: whether the official narrative over the Coronavirus and vaccines is correct and whether or not we are in for either a Great Reset or a Great Awakening and whether one or none is desirable (I discuss both questions in my blogs).
Speaking personally, my whole life has often been about going out on a limb when it came to my views generally and not taking the easy option of going with the flow. While it is true, when I became a Christian, I tended to focus on things that Christians holding sound doctrine deemed important, such as living as God intended, serving others and mission, I have sometimes found myself falling out with Christians of good standing, and more so now, even though I am supposedly wiser, more mature etc., than I was a few years ago, say. There are many reasons for this tendency, such as:
- The world has gone crazy (more than normal), with much going on which is hard to figure out and where there appears to be little by way of consensus, notably among Christians, as how best to respond to what is happening. This is not helped by a mainstream media, politicians and societal leaders who are often found lying.
- Now I am old and grumpy with time on my hand to go down all sorts of rabbit holes, there is a desire to want to fully answer the “how to respond” question and all too often I am finding my conclusions are not the same as influential church leaders, yet having experienced life in the raw and now no longer caring about being nice or popular or losing my job, I tend to speak as I find.
- With the advent of social media, where it appears everyone has an opinion, wants to voice it and finds he/she can (unless banned of course), I have seen this as my opportunity to set the record and put people straight, although as I intimated earlier, not always in an appropriate or timely manner, which brings me to the need (imho) to disagree agreeably in a polarised world and church.
So the following points are my “pearls of wisdom” addressed to folk like me who feel they need to speak out, especially those who rise to the challenge of being watchmen, who are rightly disturbed by what is happening around them, have done their research which is often at odds with the official narrative we are meant to follow and, since they care about what they have found out, want to share their ideas, observations and conclusions with others. My thoughts are based on hard earned experience, from engaging with them who are poles apart in their opinions, and I am speaking just as much to myself.
- Remember, you are unprofitable servant of the Lord and it is not your place to take umbrage when people are unpleasant when they know your views and take exception with them.
- Remember, most Christians (maybe all) have been deceived one way or another and Satan’s strategy is divide and rule.
- Maintain a good relationship with the Lord. Trying to make your point can be a distraction from what matters more. So is maintaining good relationships with those who disagree with you, making it all the more important to disagree agreeably if possible.
- Don’t let the anxieties that come about from observing bad things happening in the world, and sometimes your Christian brethren are seemingly oblivious of, destroy your peace with God.
- However important it is, what you have to say it is unlikely to be more important than prayer, studying the Bible, fellowship with Christians and doing your duties, however mundane these seem.
- Think before saying anything. Ask yourself: is it true; its it necessary and is it kind? If you can’t answer these questions in the affirmative, then do not proceed. And if/when you do, speaking the truth in love and maintaining good relationships likely matters a lot more than winning an argument and losing a brother. Some you may convince (wonderful!) but unless they agree with you in the first place, many won’t be persuaded, yet they could be making valid points, offering valid perspectives.
- Do your own research; not easy in a time of fake news it is true and the need to distinguish fact from opinion and assertions that may or may not be fact; and you may not have the time, yet truth matters. When you do share your findings and conclusions, be relevant and respectful and it often helps to be succinct.
- Recognise, many, maybe most, are not interested in your views and there is a time and place for airing them (and a manner too). While you may feel you need to let people know what you know or at least get them to question their own erroneous views, it is often better not spending time elaborating your thoughts when minds are made up. And make allowances that you may be wrong!
- Recognise, church matters. By church, I don’t mean organisation, building etc., but rather believers in Jesus. Belonging to a church that teaches error etc. can be problematic and this while God is shaking planet earth. The day is coming when there will be parting of the ways of the true and apostate church. Meanwhile, fellowship with God’s people whenever and however you can.
- “Test and weigh”, “watch and pray”, “trust and obey” can be seen as pious platitudes by some but if you were to adopt these, it will help you when coming to terms with the part you should play in disagreeing agreeably in a polarised world and church and, having done so, you can safely leave the rest with the Lord.