Your Opinion is NOT Law

This year, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m doing a year-long internship at my church. I absolutely love it but so far the most challenging part of it has been the people. My church is extremely diverse (across culture, ethnicity, class, nationality and everything) which is one of the attributes that drew me to it. However, diversity has a tendency to bring friction – in a positive and sometimes negative way. Truthfully, I love arguing and disagreeing because, when all parties are keeping an open mind and genuinely listening, you can always learn something.

KEY PHRASE: ALL parties are keeping an OPEN MIND and genuinely LISTENING.

The amount of discussions I’ve gotten into with people who treat their opinions as fact is awfully concerning. These open discussions quickly turn to debates because the counter-opinion refuses to listen to me, acknowledge my side or wait for reason. Once they’ve given their opinion, they end the discussion because they’ve stated their point.

This isn’t a problem exclusive to the Christian world but it is the sphere in which I find myself most so it’s what I will address. I have seen, time and time again, Christians memorise scripture or receive a revelation from God and assume that that scripture (often out of context) or revelation applies to the entire world. Often, your conviction is applicable to only you. Share it. Don’t enforce it.

Very bluntly put: Just because you have an opinion/ conviction/ revelation, doesn’t mean you NEED to share it.

I am a christian and a feminist who happens to be quite vocal about what upsets me. This means I get into many arguments with Christians who don’t agree with feminsm and also are quite vocal. What tends to happen in these disagreements is that the non-feminist will shout me down with their revelation and quote and out of context scripture. When I try to explain my side, I get shut down and disregarded. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

It is a biblical principle to be quick to listen and slow to speak (see James). And it’s been an uncomfotable challenge that God has given me this year. But the more God has made me aware of this the more I’ve noticed that few people do this. I won’t go around pretending that I never do this, but I know when to admit that I was wrong. It’s not always fun to be wrong but is your pride and opinion really better than humility and learning?

When you clearly listen to someone else’s opinion and disagree, you allow room to for both parties to grow. Once you disregard someone else’s opinion, you create room for anger to flourish. Learn to disagree without disregarding. Learn to listen more and speak  less. You might just be amazed by what you could learn…

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One thought on “Your Opinion is NOT Law

  1. Hey, I really like your post. I’m currently doing a campaign about feminism and our relationship with the word feminism. You are totally spot on about listening to other’s opinions with an open mind and even if you don’t agree you might actually learn something. I am a total believer that education is the key to motivation and change. In a perfect world, the more we talk and share our ideas and opinions, the more open-minded people can be because they can listen and take in what you have to say. Stubbornness and dignity can be very dangerous. I have struggled with this a lot since I started blogging and campaigning. Some of the things I’ve seen posted about feminism have been so disturbing and unfortunately it’s one of those topics that if you read too much or expose yourself to the dark side of opinion sharing you just get upset and feel hopeless like ‘how am I going to share my opinion with this person, there is no way they would ever listen to me or believe in what I have to say, so what’s the point in even trying?’. I think the trick is to keep your cool, say your piece, listen to what they have to say (even if its grossly disturbing and totally opposite to what you think) and just try and move on respectfully if it becomes negative. The objective of my own campaign is to basically encourage positive and productive discussion about feminism. Really cool to see someone else who understands that there is a difference between fact and opinion. I don’t know if you’ll be interested but Hillary Clinton made a speech years ago in the senate about planned parenthood. (I’m from Australia so don’t care much for the politics surrounding Hillary or Trump etc). Even if you take away what she’s saying about planned parenthood, she sets a great example for how to respectfully disagree with someone. Especially in the first part of her speech. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH9rC0MaBJc
    Also, a link to my campaign if you’re interested: fminism.wordpress.com
    Good luck with your internship 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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