My friend Chris asked me to answer some survey questions about HIV for a paper he’s writing for a class on something medical-related for college. The questions were mostly about my thoughts on teaching sex ed in schools, and what I think about approaches to prevention, etc.
What I thought was humbling was that Chris said:
“I hope you don’t mind, but you’re one of the people I picked to do this survey because 1. you have thought out ideas in your mind, you don’t just shout them out without thinking about what you’re saying, and 2. I pretty much assumed we would disagree on stuff.”
I think that is a huge compliment. Yes, Chris and I disagree on a lot of things. I’m a Christian, he’s turned off by most things Christian. And yet we have been able to have some very interesting chats without arguing or debating or shouting. It’s always thoughtful and I definitely walk away making sure I consider his views, rather than just trying to make my own point. I’m glad someone noticed.
In my daily Bible reading this week, I read Paul telling Timothy “not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” and that “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all”. (2 Timothy 1) I consider my life verse Phillipians 2: 3, 4: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
I think that’s something to consider as we close out the final days of the elections. I’ve been bombarded lately by people on the other side of the political fence pointing out how ignorant I am, usually using phrases like “fear mongering” and accusing me of drinking the red kool aid. And these are Christians, oddly enough. I don’t argue back. I find that those who define themselves as open-minded are usually calling me narrow minded and ignorant, so vehemently defending their opinions that they are unable to carry on a calm, intelligent discussion and listen to my side of the issue.
I’ll chat with the non-Christians, who may disagree with me but who at least think my opinions worthy of consideration.