If I Were You
But I’m not you. And you’re not me. There’s a reason we all have different talents and personalities, and in Christ, spiritual gifts. If we were all supposed to be clones there’d be no need for most of us. But our differences force us to work together and learn to allow others to disagree without thinking there’s something defective or malicious about them.
The Body of Christ is supposed to be exactly that, not an amoeba or chain of identical (but hierarchical!) links. We’re supposed to work together like the left and right hands, neither claiming authority over the other. You know I’ve written a lot about that regarding women and men, laity and clergy.
But on almost every topic in Christian discussions, people think that those who disagree with them must do so only because of some fault or trauma or sin in their lives. They condescend to them with statements like, “Someday you’ll see what I see”, “I was once like you”, “I pray that God will open your eyes”, “You are deceived”, etc. All of those statements send the clear message that “I am your teacher and you are my student, come sit at my feet in humility”. This is a far cry from statements like, “I disagree with you”, “Your argument is illogical or inconsistent and here is why”, “I believe your teaching is dangerous or blasphemous and here is why”, etc.
If someone disagrees with you, do you think there must be something wrong with them? If so, you have a problem, not them. If they vigorously attack what you believe, do you take it personally? Then you are thin-skinned and don’t know the difference between the person and their view. People use the logical term ad hominem but think it means “disagreement”, when in fact it means “to direct one’s comments at the person rather than the argument they make”. The tone with which it is expressed is irrelevant; you can be very nice and polite while committing the ad hominem fallacy. So if you are accused of this, do you fly off the handle and say your opponent is the thin-skinned one or falsely accuses you? Then take a hard look at what ad hominem actuallly means before you become the one making false accusations.
Similarly, if my gift/personality is that of a guardian or warrior, others should not be shocked or surprised that I don’t belong in a china shop or a hospital. Conversely, if i am an encourager and soother of wounds, I don’t belong on the city walls wielding weapons of defense. Yet many Christians expect all other Christians to be whatever they are, behave exactly as they do, act as they act, speak as they speak. They take any expression of disagreement as hatefulness and think nothing of destroying a fellow believer over their personal views-- all the while accusing their victims of their own sins.
Can’t we all just get along? That’s a question to ask yourself, not everyone else. If it’s wrong for other believers to “judge” then it’s also wrong to judge those judgmental believers! Think before you accuse, and examine your own attitude toward those who disagree with you. Please.