Integrating Compassion with the Wisdom of God’s Word


The purpose of Aunt Dara’s Christian Advice Column is to glorify God by addressing human needs with compassion and the wisdom of God’s word.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to Deal with Discord

Hello Aunt Dara, 

I first want to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!  My problem is about discord and how to deal with it.  I currently go to a university that is now divided on a very public issue.  I've taken the time to observe both views, and I understand both sides of the argument.  My stance is somewhat on the middle ground, but I'm still torn between two views.  However, it saddens me to see both my friends and professors acting in such an unscholarly way in response to discord.  They are taking stances without considering the view of those on the other side.  I'm especially disappointed in my professors.  The way they go about taking sides (speaking about the problem during lecture, writing about their opinions for the school newspaper, etc.) makes me sad because they didn't consult or try to understand the other side. 

I've tried to search online what the Bible says about dealing with discord, and I've found nothing.  What do you think Christ might do, say or think in this situation?  What might he say to me? 

Torn and Disappointed 

Dear Torn and Disappointed,

Actually, the Bible has a lot to say about how to handle disagreements and conflict, depending on how many people are involved and what the issue is.  We know that this situation involves two groups of people with opposing viewpoints.  However, I think you may be making an assumption that the professors are taking sides without understanding the opposing viewpoint.  The professors have probably researched the topic thoroughly (that’s what scholars do), and have reached a conclusion that they believe is right and defensible.  Furthermore, it appears that they think that the issue is important enough to instruct others who have the opposing view.

When Jesus was asked about issues in which people had differing views, He based His response on what the scriptures say and used it as an opportunity to teach (see Matthew 19) and to correct error (see Matthew 22:23-33).  Nowhere are we given an example of Jesus compromising on the truth or saying, “Well, I can see both sides of he issue.”  Jesus was not concerned if anyone was offended by the truth (Matthew 15:11-13, John 6:60-69).  We are to follow Jesus’ example by first determining if the Bible says anything about the issue.  If it does, then we are to teach others what the Bible says, even if it offends someone or contradicts current societal trends or popular belief.  God’s word is still God’s word, regardless of political correctness (Exodus 23:2).  Anything that was sin in the First Century is still a sin in the Twenty-First Century.  However, we should not be arrogant or aggressive in teaching truth or correcting error.  Please refer to 2 Timothy 2:23-26; 3:16 - 4:4, Galatians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, and James 5:19-20.

However, if the Bible is silent on the issue, Paul instructs us on how to handle differences of opinion in the 14th chapter of Romans.  Present day issues that might be comparable to what Paul refers to as a “disputable matter” are disagreements about the role of women in the church and using contemporary Christian music versus traditional hymns.

Bottom line:  Speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

No comments: