Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt immediately brought to mind a cartoon I saw recently. Two people are looking at a number on the floor; one says it is a six, the other claims it is a nine. Because of where they stand, they each see a different number. I find it interesting that neither are wrong, they simply see the number differently. They each have a different “viewpoint.”
My son once shared some words of wisdom about disagreements. When we encounter someone who has a different view or belief, a thoughtful way to begin any discussion is to begin by standing with that person. We begin by moving to where they are, seeing what they are seeing, learning how they have arrived at that place. We begin by looking at the issues together, instead of immediately starting out on opposite sides, facing off to argue about our separate viewpoints. We may still disagree, but we are no longer divided by a chasm of our differences, but standing together on the common ground we do share.
After a few interesting and insightful comments from a Facebook friend, I would like to clarify a few statements. When I wrote, “neither are wrong” about the example of the number six or nine, I know that this is not always true. As he pointed out, issues of injustice such as racism, sexism, or homophobia are wrong. Violence and abuse are wrong. We are to love, care, honor, and help one another. This is always right.
My main point is to foster understanding by discussing our differences together, but in the case of God’s love for everyone, there may be a time to no longer “agree to disagree,” but to only disagree – by taking a firm stand against injustice.
(Five Minute Friday is an online writing community. Each week, we are given a one-word prompt and five minutes to write. You may find other posts or add your own at the link above!)