About a year and a half ago I started up this blog, and the response has been eye-opening, as I have an insider's view on how people react when confronted with viewpoints they may not agree with. I've always enjoyed writing, and the idea of having a platform to begin discussion by logically thinking through issues appeals to me, especially in a culture that seems to be screaming only one viewpoint. I admit, my conclusions are probably not always accurate when considering the best way to go about things, but I have always begun typing with the hope that honest and gracious discussion could help us all form a better opinion, regardless of the controversial topic.
It wasn't until a little ways in that I realized my generation does not do well in the area of logical discussion. It became clear that, if you say one way might be better than another way of doing something, you are suddenly the enemy of this tolerance-driven culture. I've even felt this with some of my closest friends. You do not get the benefit of a gracious argument, considering the other as more important than yourself, but are either shunned or verbally attacked. I found, experientially, that as long as you don't rock the boat you have plenty of friends. Needless to say, it was a disappointing revelation.
I'm not sure when this intolerant view of differing opinions became so mainstream in our generation, but I am finding it is undeniable. Perhaps you are one those that are of the opinion I should just shut my mouth and not bring controversial topics up. Maybe that's true, and I certainly don't want to unnecessarily offend people. But to effect change and correct thought-patterns through logically thinking through issues does not seem like a bad path to follow, as long as it's done in love.
I was recently on a pregnancy forum, and made a post about how scientific research suggested that breastfeeding really is healthier than formula feeding. This is a hot topic in the pregnancy world, as "fed is best" is becoming the new mantra to shut down any sort of logical discussion surrounding choosing formula when you don't have to. But facts are facts, and that's all I wanted to point out, with no judgment beyond that. Anyway, I should have been aware that this might happen, but the responders came out with guns blazing. I was suddenly attacked by a bunch of hormonal pregnant women that aren't constrained by the Holy Spirit to be kind. I couldn't believe how vicious and twisted it got within seconds, and I was certain the pathway of logical discussion had long since been left. Not only did I delete the post, but I deleted my account because of the how cruel they became.
At any rate, the whole point of this article is to ask for grace when it comes to someone giving their opinion, and that goes beyond this simple little blog. It's to ask for actual discussion in order for both to come to better conclusions, rather than just writing the other person off as legalistic or stupid for having an opinion that differs from ours. It's to ask that we don't come at each other with a pitchfork when we see something we don't agree with, but to suggest a different way of thinking, and really listen to each other. I know I say dumb things without realizing it sometimes; I've always hoped and assumed that my Christian friends would give me grace through those times, and attempt discussion, not concluding I intended harm to anyone or think I'm a know-it-all. Maybe I'm like you, and wanting to find the best way to please God, and to help others too. Let's love each other well enough to believe the best, and not make our friends afraid to give their true opinion. Let's be open to gracious discussion.
"[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." -1 Corinthians 13:7