Disagreements are a natural part of human relationships.
They present us with opportunities to improve, grow, and consider new perspectives.
However, when they are not processed properly, they can harm us or others.
Learning to navigate them, and making the most of them, is a pretty important soft skill.
On this occasion, I would like to share with you a number of bible principles on how to handle disagreements.
To do so, I invite you to read this short fragment of the Bible:
Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.
Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.
So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14: 6 – 8
In the specific case of this bible text, the Apostle Paul is addressing several disagreements that were growing in the early church.
He was addressing disagreements on two points.
At the first point, he was probably addressing the problem of Jewish Christians who wanted to observe the Hebrew calendar holidays.
They thought these things were still necessary, even though they were already Christians.
For this reason, a heated disagreement had been generated between those who said that these holidays should be observed and those who said no.
On the second point, he is probably addressing the issue of Gentile Christians who refused to eat meats from the market because they were possibly sacrificed to idols and criticized those who did so.
Here, too, another major disagreement had been generated between those who refused to eat meat, for fear that it would be sacrificed, and those who ate it because they thought there was nothing wrong with eating it.
In the face of these disagreements, the apostle says that it is not necessary to generate division in the church for these things.
That despite these things, they could maintain unity.
Often our disagreements with others may not be so huge as to prevent us from continuing to be a couple, friends, siblings, or living in community.
Identifying this can help us overlook the false need to agree.
To handle the disagreements that existed in the church of Rome, the apostle presents several principles:
#1 Analyze your perspective and be sure of it
The first principle is that everyone should analyze their perspective privately.
If he found it true, he had to be convinced of what he believed.
Otherwise, after such an analysis, if it was concluded that it was not true, he should abandon it.
By evaluating my own position to see if it is correct, the disagreement can disappear when I conclude, on my own, that I am wrong.
This also allows me to understand that the others, like me, already have a defined perspective.
Understanding that this perspective is probably the product of a past different from mine, or of careful analysis, will allow me to have empathy and respect for the other, and not to disqualify his ideas.
#2 Understanding one’s own goal and that of the other
The second thing he indicates is that both sides had to understand that the other was doing what he considered right from the heart, not for the benefit of one’s ego, but for The Lord.
Thus, by understanding the intentions of the counterparty, they would conclude that they were trying to achieve the same goal.
The goal that everything was done for God, be it observing holidays or eating the meats.
The apostle says they needed to understand that the important thing is that no one was doing things for themselves, but that they were doing them for Jesus.
Both sides had the same interest and the same goal, but different positions on how to achieve it.
The apostle Paul is showing them that both sides are, in a way, on the same page.
Both sides do things from the heart for God.
In our case, it is likely that in our disagreements with others, we focus so much on making our point of view prevail that we do not realize that both parties are interested in achieving the same goal.
When we realize this, if that’s the case, we’ve taken a step closer to better handling our disagreements.
#3 Admire each other’s faithfulness to your ideas
The third thing that is said is that the faithfulness of the other party to his ideas must be valued, appreciated, and respected.
In the case of the church in Rome, they had to appreciate the faith, zeal of the other.
Also, the determination to be faithful to God in what they believed to be right.
On both sides, these were things they shared and that brought them together.
By admiring this in the other, they could deal with their disagreements in a better way.
In our own disagreements, when we take off our glasses of bias and give ourselves the opportunity to see the good in the other, we can have more productive conversations and make it easier to resolve them.
Disagreements are opportunities to grow, as long as the parties involved are mature and willing to work them healthily.
I hope these words are a blessing to your life.
Are you having a disagreement with anyone? What is the circumstance you are going through? Let us know in the comments.
Blessings and a hug.