We see lots of things on Facebook: pictures of families at holiday dinners, vacation selfies, and nature scenes. We see videos of pet adventures, talking heads, and wild animals. We receive birthday and anniversary notices. And we wade through lots of advertisements! But we also encounter lots of heated political, moral, and theological rhetoric. This rhetoric sometimes involves outrage, name calling, labeling, and hyperbole—all in the name of truth, reason, justice, Jesus, the kingdom of God, and all we hold dear. There is no need for me to give examples. You know.
But the one thing I’ve never seen is a reply to a FB post that reads like this:
“Before reading your argument I held strongly to an opposing view. But your cool, careful reasoning and your fair—even generous—representation of those with whom you differ has convinced me that I was mistaken and that the view you espouse is the correct one.”
I wonder…is there any place in our culture where cool, patient reason reigns? Where there is enough humility before the truth to let it speak while we all listen? Where we leave final judgment to God?
How can disciples of Jesus avoid becoming like those we despise? Perhaps the first question we ought to ask is where our spite comes from.
How can we speak with those with whom we disagree? Perhaps we need to ask ourselves first about the character of the force that drives our urge to speak.
What if we thought of persuasion this way: you listen to others until they hit upon the truth?