Reflections by Dr. Teston
A Fellowship Christian School Blog
Dear Fellowship Family,
Each day, we formulate dozens of opinions based on direct and indirect experiences, our understanding of cultural norms, the perceived expectations of others, and our own personal beliefs. Though we don’t always appreciate others’ opinions, it’s important to recognize we each have our own. Formulating opinions helps us to calibrate the world around us and communicate it to others. It is a way of sharing our beliefs and values. As believers in Christ, we’d say that our beliefs and opinions are rooted in the truth of God’s Word and His character.
What happens, though, when we disagree with others – whether it’s with other believers or those who don’t yet know Him? What happens when a loved one, acquaintance, or even a stranger voices an opinion that is contrary to our own? Do we seek to understand their perspective and the reasoning for why they believe as they do? Do we talk over them, insisting that our views are the only possible correct ones? Do we dismiss them as uninformed, or worse yet, un-Christian? Furthermore, how do we even know that they’re actually wrong? In many instances, being “right” is subjective.
When we relentlessly hold fast to our perspective, we must ask, “At what cost?” Are we willing to discard a relationship for the sake of being “right?” Because we are in Christ, our desire should be to expand our relationships for the sake of having dialogue, kingdom impact, godly influence and even, perhaps having our opinions changed.
With that said, though, there may be times we need to put boundaries around our relationships or even sever them. We may find that our interactions have become unproductive, combative, or toxic to the point of being counterproductive or harmful. Attempting to preserve a relationship at all costs may not be the wise thing to do in some situations.
So, the next time we feel the urge to dismiss or overpower someone whose ideas or opinions differ, let’s ask what’s at stake. If the relationship is to be preserved, ask God for His wisdom and grace to listen and consider others’ perspectives. If the relationship needs to have boundaries, God’s wisdom is warranted as well. In our conversations and discourse, may God’s word be our guide: “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring one another.” (Romans 12:10)
Seeking healthy, life-giving relationships and dialogue,
Dr. Kathryn M. Teston
Head of School
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Dr. Kathryn M. Teston