There are those among us that think we need to agree in order to have peace. For some, the premise extends further – harmony is a requirement to progress, uniformity is a measure of truth, and raised voices are a mark a conflict (essentially the word that is interchangeable with evil).
Even as I find myself letting go of my frustration, I do respect the call to passionate differences. There are several reasons anchoring my belief.
First, it is a model that leaders have embraced across the generations. When “the apostles and leaders called a special meeting to consider the matter – The arguments went on and on, back and forth, getting more and more heated.” (Acts 15.6) When generals meet to form a plan of battle, rarely does everyone come with a uniform view. Business leaders think quite differently. In either situation, when the ideas are presented, passionate views are often exchanged! Voices can be raised. Occasionally, arguments ensure. From experience, this can be good.
Second, even as passions are intense, a community needs to see its options from differing views. As values are played out in life, different paths emerged. Compassion versus justice often looks quite different. Mercy can color a path. Accountability can shape a direction. Exploring the way that our values and priorities look gives us the opportunity to embrace what is most important.
Third, as we respect and listen to each other, we give permission to the other to embrace more than what they have. The permission applies to everyone, our souls included. The best solution is often greater than what any one perspective can see.
We live in a complex, messy, and chaotic world. It is unlikely that you or I will be able to see it all. We will not see all of the risks or the opportunities. In listening to those that disagree with us, we have the opportunity to hear Life giving us additional insights and directions. By asking tough questions and seeking to understand, we can embrace more than what we know. It is our door.
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