No matter how good of a communicator you are, you will come to a time in a relationship when you must learn how to politely disagree. The Bible gives us an excellent illustration of this when Jesus showed his disciples how to disagree without being so disagreeable in disposition that people are turned off towards you.
The Jewish people were accusing Jesus of being demon possessed. Jesus simply replied, “I am not possessed by a demon, but I honor My Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for Myself; but there is One who seeks it and He is the Judge. I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” The Jews replied, “Now we know that You are demon possessed” (John 8:48-52).
Jesus knew how to disagree in a way that was factual and loving while unwilling to dilute the truth. We should ask God for the wisdom to be able to disarm those who disagree with us without becoming argumentative and rude. Let’s look at ways that Jesus showed us how to disagree without losing self control:
1. Jesus knew how to state the facts in a way that was not offensive to believing hearts. Cynics, skeptics, and accusers will always find something wrong even if they have to invent the problem. The Pharisees were looking for an excuse to cast the Lord in a false light, so they could remain in their sin. Jesus responded to this by speaking in truth and love.
2. Jesus knew how to respond to provocation. We must learn how to control our anger, fear, and defensive emotions. We are to quick to try an kick someone while there down if they disagree with us. James wrote, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19). Ask God for the ability to listen before you speak. This will help you in every relationship. When you take the time to better collect your thoughts and take a series of breaths, you will be better able to answer objectively rather than from your subjective feelings and emotion.
3. Jesus knew that there are people out there that have selective seeing and hearing. They only hear and see what they want to. Because of the Pharisees misconceptions about Jesus and His motives, they condemned Him before understanding the facts. Ask the Lord to give you the serenity to accept the fact that some people will think badly of you for no reason at all. There are modern day Pharisees that will not like the message you teach and talk about, but accept them and disagree without being rude.
4. Jesus knew that people who have a secret selfish agenda are blinded by the truth. He knew that getting angry, irritated, and emotional would only make the situation grow out of hand. We should never add fuel to a fire that is already burning out of control. This is very counter-cultural to our society today. Everybody has the attitude of, “You can’t out yell me, I’ll tell you!” We must let our guard down and remember what James says about being quick to listen and slow to anger. Paul wrote in Romans 12:19-21, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
5. Jesus is a God of peace. By maintaining the peace of God, we are able to graciously disagree with people in a way that will affect their thinking, emotions, and behavior. The Lord’s peace has a way of showing people that His supernatural calm accompanies His people.
6. Jesus is also God of law and order. The Lord would not let the Pharisees and the Romans get away with condemning Him without properly showing them that they were bending their own laws in a sinister way to have Him crucified. Jesus was charged as innocent, yet still crucified. Stand up for your legal, human, and civil rights.
7. Jesus is the God of love, truth, and power. The Lord Jesus Christ would not back down from accusers who tried to portray Him as something he was not. He knew His identity. Be sure that you know whom you believe and be secure in your identity in Christ. Let God be true and all the world be found as a liar if that’s what’s necessary to stand on Truth.
Jesus is love and we are to strive every second of our day to be more like Him. Learn how to control yourself in a disagreement with someone, so God can use you to the fullest extent.