“Let me see you celebrate this,” says Michael Douglas as the U.S. President in the movie — oh my, I actually can not retrieve the title. Anyway, he stands at a podium before the seal of the presidency and says we should celebrate the freedom we have in this country to yes — burn the flag, protest abortion, lobby for gay rights, support our troops, vote in the next election. [Oh, the movie is THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT!]
We should defend the right for our sworn enemy to shout at the top of his lungs in protest of something we’d shout at the top of our lungs to support. Michael Douglas as the president says something close to this — always stand up for freedom of expression! Stand up for the right of people you do not admire or believe are correct to speak their minds.
Our right to speak our minds is extraordinarily rare in the greater world.
The problem comes when debate becomes strife. They say this; we say that. They say it again in a slightly different manner perhaps even contradicting a previous statement. We point that out; they ignore the facts. They continue their line of thinking; we continue ours. And then, one of the two sides starts to get annoyed. Emotion steps in. Debate becomes argument.
That this is the nature of disagreement is not surprising. When you hold a belief as the absolute truth, then the difficulty is in not expressing it with urgency. How do you do that? How do you tell someone they are flat out wrong without that overwhelming sense of urgency? If you care about those people or about the truth, then emotion likely plays a role.
God says to “speak the truth in love.”
Father God, help me to always remember to gently speak Your truths. In Jesus’ Name, amen.