I freely admit it. I'm a people pleaser. I hate it when I sense someone doesn't like me. Because of my people pleasing nature, I have a difficult time when someone doesn't agree with me too. My spirit stirs and I feel their disagreement personally. If you don't like my baby (in this case, my idea), you must not like me. Wah, wah.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Every week in Bible study we get into great discussions. And sometimes, like last week, I felt one woman challenging my thinking, not buying what I was saying or at least not relating to it. My insides lamented, "Well, she doesn't agree. She thinks I'm wrong. This will affect how she sees me." I'm not really sure why I felt this way. She was polite, listened carefully and did not belittle me in any way. She just didn't agree with me. I guess the little girl in me who wants everybody to like her thought a dissenting opinion nullified me as a person.
After study concluded, the familiar you-should-have-kept-your-mouth-shut feeling hounded me. I wondered if my thoughts and opinions changed the way others saw me. Would my Bible study friends find me ignorant or weak? Would they think less of me?
But God laid my fears to rest when the woman I thought may change her tune about me, came to me and said, "Tami Boesiger, I love you. I love how you think."
You have no idea how those words soothed me, friend (well, maybe NOW you do). You taught me it's okay to think differently and express varying opinions. We can love each other without subscribing entirely to the philosophy of the other. We can accept each other knowing God asks unique things of individual people. Instead of fearing disagreement, I should be excited about it as a chance to learn another viewpoint I haven't known. I should welcome the opportunity for growth in my own life from the challenge. I should delight in discussion arising from not seeing eye to eye. It makes me think. It forces me to back up what I believe. Such mature discussion truly provides for "iron sharpening iron."
I was challenged again later in the week through my posts about beauty (Outer Beauty is Important to God and More Talk on Beauty). Because of her comments, I knew a dear friend did not agree with me. My first thought was, "Oh, great. She thinks I'm off the deep end. Now she'll lose respect for me. " But then I remembered Bible study and thought, "No, let yourself be sharpened, Tami. Instead of worrying about defending yourself, really consider what she says. You might learn something." And of course, I did.
Disagreements, even those with our fellow believers, are not bad. As long as we do not take them personally, put ourselves aside for the sake of true communication, and sincerely listen to one another, they serve to make us better.
Photo Credit: Pedro Moura Pinheiro