Thursday, April 24, 2014

How To Disagree With Tact

We come in contact with people we disagree with on a daily basis, and how we handle those disagreements (especially as Christians!) is of utmost importance.

The above quote is by Isaac Newton, and it comes to mind whenever I'm faced with the differing opinions of others. I don't know if it's just that I'm an opinionated person in general, or if it's because I tend to be more conservative than others. . .but I feel like I have to hold my tongue all the time!

I have made so many mistakes in the past where I've spoken too soon or too harshly. I'm sure I've lost the respect of others because of my failure to speak with grace and tact. But with age comes maturity, both emotionally and spiritually; and while I'm by no means perfect, there are some things I have learned over the last year that have helped me to make a point without making an enemy.

5 Tips For Disagreeing With
 Respect, Grace, and Tact:

1. Listen more than you talk. Nothing makes someone willing to listen more than when you listen to them first. People have a deep desire to be heard. When you're talking with someone who believes something differently than you do, listen to them first instead of fighting to be heard. Esteem them as higher and more important than yourself. 

2. Be objective: genuinely acknowledge the other person's view. Don't just listen to a different opinion, but acknowledge it and show them that you are considering what they're saying. Even if you strongly believe someone is wrong, show the humility to at least consider their perspective. As someone once said, "Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood."

3. Don't insult. This is just another way to say, "be respectful!" Don't roll your eyes, don't scoff, don't utter phrases like, "that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" . . .even if it is. Don't insult the very person you're talking to. 

4. Ask for clarification. This can be anything from "can you explain that one more time?" to just asking for further information if something isn't clear. Don't jump to conclusions, because who knows - maybe you're the one who's in the wrong.

5. Finally, be kind and let your words be spoken with grace. The past four points have dealt with handling the other person in the argument - but how do you handle things once it's your turn to express why you believe the way you do? 

Scripture makes it very clear: "Let your speech always be that you may know how to answer each person." (Col. 4:6 ESV). 

Always gracious. At all times. 

This doesn't mean you change your convictions, or that it's wrong to stand on what you believe and refuse to fight for truth - but regardless of how you view a particular issue, you must remain kind, calm, and full of grace. This will be the most effective witness to others - regardless what the issue may be. You will gain respect, and who knows, the Lord might use your gentle and calm spirit to lead someone closer to Him!

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