Whatever Happened to Discourse?

By Carol McClain @   carol _mcclain

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Excited about connecting with an old friend from high school, I gladly accepted her friend request on Facebook. Soon, though, I discovered, she never had a nice thing to say. As a liberal, she dissed anything conservative. I learned nothing about her life or her interests or her loves, only her disdain. We had no opening for general dialog, so I blocked her posts. Hopefully, she’ll read something positive of mine and responds. Then we can connect.

Conversely,  my daughter, as sober-minded as I, unfriended a group of conservative friends. Every post they wrote railed against the liberal establishment. “Life is too short,” my daughter said. “I don’t need the negativity.”

Whatever happened to discourse?

We  revile others and refuse to listen to the opposite side of an argument.

The extremes of any ideology always contain untruths (as does the philosophy of the middle-of-the-roaders). The only way we can discover our errors is to discuss. To be open to new ideas, we need to listen.

We bring to our philosophies a life lived and circumstances only we experienced. Given our God-given personalities, even siblings experiencing the same upbringing, form different ideologies.

The Bible itself  begs us to listen.

  1. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” Matt. 7:1-2 ESV.
  2.  “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” James 1:19 ESV.
  3. My personal favorite: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” Prov. 17:28 ESV.

My last book, The Poison We Drink, shows, in fiction, how not recognizing the thought processes of others destroys lives.

Why don’t we talk to others?

Why do we refuse to listen?

What are we afraid of?

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