Just hear me out: Listen, respect others’ opinions in discussion

Wouldn’t it be nice sometimes to shut someone up by clicking the mute button, like how Adam Sandler does in the movie Click?

It’s hard to have a conversation when two people have opposing values, but it’s near impossible when they’re trying to grab for each other’s throats at the same time.

We see it all the time. A discussion turns into an argument, and a debate turns into a fight. Instead of laying out thoughts for the sake of understanding, it becomes “my way or the highway.”

Sometimes, you may find yourself amongst a group with the same values, or end up being the only opposing view. Whichever the case may be, I think it’s important to learn to swallow a few words in order to give others a chance to speak their minds.

Personally, I know I am more sensitive to topics such as abortion, assault and discrimination. It’s difficult to try and listen to others especially when they’re going against what you passionately believe in.

Oftentimes, I feel that people criticize or judge others for having different values. God, however, doesn’t give us that authority.

In Romans 2:1-3 Paul says, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practice such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

No one is perfect, so who are we to judge what’s right and wrong?

In Matthew 7:3-4 Jesus says, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?”

It’s always easier to judge than be judged. Everyone has a certain degree of pride that they would like to protect. It doesn’t feel great when you “lose” an argument while supporting your cause. It gives you a sense of inferiority. However, when it comes to topics that truly matter, such as abortion, the focus shouldn’t be on pride and women’s empowerment, but rather the issue itself. An innocent life is at stake.

Listening and trying to understand another’s views not only brings forth intellectual discussions, but it also forms respect and strengthens relationships.

In James 1:19, James says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

When we’re stubborn, we easily succumb to the idea that our views are always right. It is almost instinctual to want to retaliate whenever our personal values seem to be under attack; however, as much as you would want others to respect and care about your views, it is vital to reciprocate for others.

Being patient and listening more is not only a humbling experience but also an opportunity for people to formulate solutions instead of merely fighting.

So, shut up and listen because you might learn a thing or two.

©The Baylor Lariat

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