LIFE

Why healthy debate draws us closer to each other

THE PROBLEM

Last week, I had a conversation with someone and after I got off the phone, I realized they were trying to avoid debating an issue.

I thought about it later. Why are so many people afraid to have an “energetic” discussion? Actually, I’m pretty sure I know the answer.

Too many people lump thoughtful debate and arguing together. They’re not the same at all. 

Think about the current political scene.

People are either arguing about candidates and issues or they are remaining silent. Both are wrong and both contribute to a negative atmosphere.

But there are alternatives and I think they begin with our everyday conversations.

healthy debate

We should be able to say, “I disagree” and then be able to share why we have a different opinion. It should be a back and forth. A lot of issues get solved when people are willing to confront.

I love a good debate. I wasn’t “Best in State” as a high school student for nothing. I like it because I like to hear the various opinions people have about different issues from. I found 0pposing viewpoints exhilarating.  It’s called being teachable, a really good character trait to develop.

I’m not one of those conservative Christians who can’t listen to views different than mine. I encourage it. There have even been times I’ve changed my position. Not often, but sometimes. And not because I’m stubborn about changing my position, but because as a rule, I’ve done my “thinking” homework ahead of time.

I pretty much know what I think about most issues that impact me directly, and I try hard to understand about those issues that don’t.

healthy-debate

I feel shortchanged in relationships where the other party holds back and won’t step into the fray. I feel it puts a distance between us.

It’s unsettling to be around someone who doesn’t express their opinion. You always wondering what they’re thinking.

So in this particular case, I’ve let it go. But by letting it go, the relationship is somewhat diminished. That makes me sad.

THE SOLUTION

So if you’re one of those who hold back in your conversations, ask yourself why. What are you afraid of?

  • Are you afraid that you will sound angry? Then change the way you talk.
  • Do you feel that debating is wrong? Then study up on the life of Jesus, the Great Debater.
  • Do you feel uncomfortable sharing your opinions? Then figure out why that is.

Are there times I avoid voicing my opinion? Of course. But I always take the view that if a subject is opened by in my presence, then it’s an invitation for me to express my opinion if I want to. If not, then I guess the subject shouldn’t have been opened.

The same applies to me. If I bring up something, I need to be willing to hear the “other side.”

Let’s be an example of how to discuss something intelligently and not add fuel to the present political fire.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.