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5 Guidelines for Healthy Disagreement

Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with someone who refuses to listen or have a civil conversation? It doesn't matter if they are right or wrong, they don't convince anyone because of the manner in which they debate.

Sometimes we need to disagree with people. When those moments arrive, consider these 5 Guidelines for Healthy Disagreement:

1. Be Gentle, not harsh.

2. Listen well before you formulate your answer.

3. Weigh your answer, don’t immediately gush.

4. Give answers that reflect Scripture.

5. Don’t endlessly debate with a fool.

These guidelines came as the result of studying this topic in Proverbs. Below are some of the verses that helped inform these thoughts:

Proverbs 1:28 - “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.

Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:28 - The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

Proverbs 18:13 - He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame.

Proverbs 18:23 - A poor man pleads for mercy, but a rich man answers harshly.

Proverbs 21:13 - If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 22:21 - teaching you true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to him who sent you?

Proverbs 24:26 - An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

Proverbs 26:4 - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

Proverbs 26:5 - Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

Proverbs 26:16 - The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly.

Proverbs 27:11 - Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt.

Reading these verses is a challenge to me regarding my own skills in answering graciously. Especially after preaching about seasoning my “truth” tendencies with grace, I’m aware that this is an area I need to keep developing. I’ll continue working on answering THIS way, I hope you will to. Below are a few nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from these great verses:

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