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Love

The Art of Disagreeing

Disagreements are inevitable. You won’t always agree with the beliefs of others and everyone won’t always agree with yours.  Because of differences in culture, background, upbringings, and values, people view the world differently! So, how should you handle disagreements?

Learn to disagree gracefully.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He knew The Truth and shared it with the world. He recruited men, women, and children as He tried to share the wonderful Gospel with them. However, He was not always well received. Some people were so threatened by Him that they gossiped about Him and eventually decided to kill Him. Yet, despite it all, Jesus never tried to force people to agree with Him. He told them what they needed to hear and He allowed them to choose whether or not to listen.

I bet you’ve experienced similar situations. Have you ever tried to share knowledge with others who weren’t ready to hear it? It doesn’t have to involve witnessing the Gospel to others: It could be something like stepping in when a friend was being bullied or when you overheard someone gossiping about a classmate. Perhaps you were trying to communicate new information or a different way of doing things and someone else decided that your words of wisdom were untrue.

Whatever it was, if others disagreed with you in an inappropriate manner–maybe by ridiculing you, or by saying hurtful things–it was likely a very difficult situation to endure. You may have felt defensive and even lashed out  in anger. Since angry disputes can cause unnecessary strife, let’s explore a few ways to handle harsh ridicule:

  • When people disagree with you in an inappropriate manner, be sure to address the behavior. Maintain your cool, but explain to them how you expect to be treated. Share with them that you don’t mind their feedback, but that you do expect them to offer it appropriately.
  • Sometimes the best response is no response. If someone is trying to get an emotional reaction from you in front of a group, and doesn’t respond well to your redirection, you might want to try walking away. Approach the person again later, when s(he) is alone. People often respond much differently when there is no audience around.
  • Check yourself! Be sure that you’re also  interacting appropriately and that you’re not appearing judgmental or overly critical. Also, try not to be too demanding. Remember, “I” statements work much better than “you” statements.
  • Remember that just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make what you’re saying untrue. If you truly believe what you’re saying or doing is the right thing, and it’s not hurting you or another person, then stick to your position. It’s okay to be different and God calls you to be a leader! However, make sure that you’re well informed if you’re sharing The Gospel or other important information. You don’t want to spread untruths to other people.
  • Never EVER underestimate the power of prayer! If you struggle with handling disagreements appropriately, ask The Holy Spirit to guide and teach you in this area.

How do you disagree gracefully?

Image: Creatas | Thinkstock

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10 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by jordaniann on December 18, 2011 at 07:38

    Oh my gosh so helpful thanks soooooo much!

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by Swimmer Girl on November 28, 2011 at 11:58

    this is really helpful because sometimes when you disagree with someone who’s opinion you value (a.k.a: a best friend, teacher or a bf) it can be really hard not to try and argue your point even further to them to let them know that what you think is right. Im realizing now that I dont always have to agree on every little thing with someone and the same goes for them with me. Thanks so much! 🙂

  3. denimjellybean

    Posted by denimjellybean on November 27, 2011 at 16:42

    There are some people who aren’t even worth the energy it takes to disagree. Being able to recognize these people and walk away from the argument is at least as important as disagreeing gracefully.

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by Allison on November 27, 2011 at 13:43

    I just say ‘Lets agree to disagree’.

  5. Posted by on November 27, 2011 at 12:18

    Hey, there’s something I’ve been wondering about in regards to this. I was speaking to my friend the other week. She’s an Atheist and I was talking to her about Christ. Now, we were in a lunchroom and I wanted to talk to my other friends at the same time because I wasn’t addressing just her. Even so, my voice got a little louder than it already was. I think I kept my words pretty conversational, but does the raise in volume kind of project a tone of superiority or almost arrogance in that case? I notice that some people I know do that and it works as an intimidation factor, but I was not intending it to be that way. Does it still come off the same way, do you think?

  6. Posted by on November 26, 2011 at 20:21

    I find this post SO helpful! Thank you for sharing! I have to agree with the tip about walking away. Whenever someone disagrees with me, it is super hard to hold my tongue. But when I keep my temper and give myself time to calm down before confronting/talking with a person, it goes so much smoother and I don’t end up saying things I wish I could take back!

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by jesussaves on November 26, 2011 at 17:38

    Great article!! I absolutely agree with this! Sometimes it is really hard to disagree gratefully, because it always feels so much better to be right, but when it comes down to it is always so much easier to do.

  8. Paris

    Posted by Paris on November 26, 2011 at 16:43

    I love this. I definitely use this when I post on Christian Teen Lounge.

  9. Posted by on November 26, 2011 at 15:14

    This is some thing that always happen not every day but ones in a while. I think this advises are very helpful. And true.

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by JennaBel on November 26, 2011 at 15:13

    This is good! I’ve been in a disagreement with someone over Christianity and I’ve been trying to do it gracefully. Share facts while respecting there opinions and try as kindly as possible to tell them my opinions or otherwise to theirs… This is helping!