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Free exchange of ideas : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Winning friends, influencing people and respect

We live in a culture that has lost one of the strengths of America. That used to be the right to the free exchange of ideas. We listened to ideas different from our own and we learned from one another, even if we basically held the same opinion as before.

Today we live in a culture that spends way too much looking for, finding, even manufacturing reasons to be offended. We’ve made name-calling a first response along with anger that almost automatically engenders a negative response.

This desire to hurt others who offend us all-too-often and without provocation, uses the race card, physical harm or trashing someone’s reputation or job simply because a person who might say or write something not fitting the current politically correct fad.

People from all walks of life are losing jobs and suffer insults because of something that surfaces. Whether true or not, one person may pick up on one aspect of something communicated, chooses to be offended and targets the person through the media while gathering others to the cause until employers are intimidated and a person, who might be perfectly innocent or who stated something awkwardly, loses a job that may well support a family.

Why do we think we need to trash a person personally simply because we don’t like what they said or wrote? Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Also, on many issues, there are often more than one legitimate side, backed up by “experts.” Whatever happened to self-control, reading without blowing a gasket and considering another side—without anger and without the desire to lash out?

Those who really wish to change someone’s perspective need to realize response matters. No matter how “off the wall” you may think someone might be, that person is a human of worth. That person probably has family and friends who care and may well respond in kind on behalf of a family member or friend who gets trashed in public forums.

Think before you write something in anger. Consider where you might be in agreement and start with those points of agreement. This gives you a more neutral platform to state, respectfully, your reasons for disagreeing.

Maybe when you read or listen without rage you might gain a different perspective of what was communicated. Maybe you will realize no harm or disrespect was meant. Maybe you’ll discover things that may need more research—and not just from one point of view.

When you respond without rage fueling the response, you are more likely to reach an audience who will consider your point of view instead of turning off your reasoning because of the way it was presented.

We live in an culture that nourishes anger and hurts and, in doing so, creates circles of hurts and wounded. How much better to treat one another, especially those with whom we disagree, with respect and learn to think first and respond rationally and without anger.

Romans 12:21 says it best, “Do not be overcome by evil. But overcome evil with good.” Extending and accepting forgiveness never goes out of style. Who knows where respectful dialogues will lead.

© 2020 Carolyn R Scheidies
Published in Kearney Hub 8/17/20 as “Winning friends with respectful dialogue”
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