One thing a person has by the time they reach 55 years of age is self-knowledge. Now I realize that there are exceptions but for the most part people in their 50′s have a pretty good idea who they are. That includes all the good qualities along with all the dreaded bad. What does this gift of self-knowledge tell me about me? Well, one of the things it tells me is that that I like to argue with people. Politics, theology, music, movies, & who has the best burger – you name it, I like to argue about it. I remember my dear Grandmother telling me when I was a mere child, “You are either going to be a lawyer or a preacher one day because you like to talk so much and because you have always got to be right!” Needless to say her spiritual gift was prophecy. I feel like in some ways I was able to keep a handle on it throughout my 30′s and 40′s. Maybe I was just too busy raising children and being constantly humbled by the experience to pick a fight with anyone. Or maybe I was just not passionate enough about anything to want to tangle. All I know is that in my 50′s the “argue monster” has once again reared his ugly head. Last summer I met a brand new friend who has become a pretty important & vital part of my life. His name is FACEBOOK. Do you know him? He is really fun and cool and interesting and DANGEROUS. I think the dangerous aspect of my new friend’s personality is why I am so fascinated with him. My new friend Facebook re-introduced me to lots of my old friends from high school and college and churches that I’ve served over the years. Such fun, good times for sure! But you know me…never have I been one to shy away from a heated political or theological discussion. And so my friend got me reaquainted really quick with my old friend the “argue monster” and before you know it, I’m in all kinds of trouble with all kinds of old and new friends. Remember in the old days when we could sleep on it? You know, have a little time to rehearse what we’re going to say to that jerk who made some offensive comment about your politics, or your favorite band, or your theological orientation? Funny wasn’t it, how a good nights sleep and a little time to process the fact that it really wasn’t that big a deal and certainly not big enough to lose a life-long friend over, impacted our eventual response? With FACEBOOK it’s all instantaneous. We can immediately tell them how shallow, insensitive, idiotic, ill-informed and un-Christian they are. And boy does it feel good! Well, for a few moments it feels good. At least until the remorse, guilt, shame, and embarrasement set in. And if you have a soul, that’s exactly what happens. Anybody out there relating to what I’m saying here. Anybody out there feeling like we need a really good seminar, workshop, sermon, or book capturing the essense of what we are suppose to do when we disagree? In the day and time in which we live there may be few questions more important than this one - What are we going to do when we disagree? We are a body of believers that have become fearful and suspicious towards one another, all the while a lost and dying world looks on. We are reminded in the book of Ephesians that our struggle or battle is not with flesh and blood and yet for many of us, that is the battle we choose each and every day. I don’t know about you but I’m thinking that I might just need a little accountability. A little something to remind me that my goal and purpose in this life is to KNOW God, to enjoy Him forever, to glorify Him and try and become more like him in the way I live my everyday life. Today I am taking a pledge. A pledge that hopefully lead me into a more civil and Christ-like existence. The pledge consist of 3 articles, articles that I believe to be Biblically based and Christ-centered. Won’t you consider taking the pledge with me?
Article I. I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect at all times, especially toward those whom I disagree – even if I feel disrespected by them.
Article II. I will at all times express my disagreements with other people’s ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally.
Article III. I will not exaggerate others’ beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt.