You Can’t Force People to Agree with You

Have you ever heard people get in a shouting match about which football team or player is the best? Or maybe you’ve gotten into it with someone about politics, healthcare, standardized testing, gun control.… Some topics lend themselves to heated debates.

What do you do when you believe one thing, your friend, spouse, co-worker or family member believes something completely to the contrary… and neither of you are willing to budge in your beliefs?

Sure, you can call it quits and vow never to speak to the person again. But if you do that very often, you’ll end up completely alienating yourself and ruining any chance you have of making a positive impact in other people’s lives.

If the relationship is important to you, perhaps a better route is to agree to disagree.

This is hard for me. I believe what I believe because I think it’s right and true. So it bothers me when people disagree or don’t see things my way—especially if it’s something I’m passionate about.

But if I turn that line of thinking around, it stands to reason that when I challenge someone’s beliefs or ask them to consider something that seems totally outrageous (like a Saviour who welcomes all but requires a faith that’s exclusive to Him), they won’t necessarily like it.

If we approach life from a Christian worldview, we can’t expect people to readily agree with us. Neither can we condemn seekers for living worldly lives. (1 Corinthians 5:12) How else would they live?! The world is their reference point.

It’s possible to be considerate of a person’s worldview without wavering on your own. In other words, don’t say, “That’s stupid!” when someone offers an opinion contrary to what the Bible teaches. (That may sound obvious, but the lack of tact some people exhibit when their ideas are challenged can be shocking!)

  • Instead of judging people or belittling their perspective, share the joy, peace and/or comfort you’ve found in Christ.
  • Ask if you may share another viewpoint or something you’ve learned or experienced (aka, your story).
  • Show them the scriptures that helped you find your joy, peace, and purpose.

Remember, it isn’t your role to convict or convince people, but to shine the spotlight on Jesus. And if they aren’t interested in budging in their line of thought, be okay with agreeing to disagree.

Be kind. Love them anyway, and use your words and actions to show them your Hope within.

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. ~1 Peter 3:14-16 (emphasis added)

 

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4 Comments to You Can’t Force People to Agree with You

  1. Ann says:

    I love the way you framed it. It’s difficult for me when I hear someone say they believe something that is totally contrary to God’s Word but we are to approach everyone from an attitude of love just as God does.

    • Erin Casey says:

      I know, Ann. Keeping the right perspective can be a challenge, but it makes all the difference. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  2. Allan says:

    Peter’s statements seem to lead towards the idea of just being respectful to others, which usually leads to respect being returned. Paul said he planted, Apollos watered, and GOD GAVE THE INCREASE. Remembering those things gives me relief that it is not my job to change the mind of others. I think that is the heart of the story of the farmer who planted his field and the seed grew day and night without his understanding.

    • Erin Casey says:

      It takes the pressure off, doesn’t it Allan? Knowing that it is God who does the work makes a huge difference. I think our job is to share, but to do so in a way that doesn’t prevent people from seeing God.

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