Do you have strong beliefs and unequivocal principles? If so, how do you share your opinions with others? Here are two examples of people sharing their persuasions with me in an invasive manner, but I am over it now, almost, sort of - not!
One evening, my wife and I were at a restaurant with another couple. When the server brought the iced tea, I reached for a pink packet of artificial sweetener. The wife in the other couple said, “Dave, don’t use that stuff. It is a sulfonamide and has caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals.” So, I drank the tea without any sweetener and mourned for the mice.
After church one recent Sunday, Sue and I decided to visit a restaurant that featured cuisine from the far east. Hot green tea was served, and I asked for some sugar. The server said that they did not have sugar in the restaurant because “sugar does nothing good for you.” So, I drank the tea without any sweetener, and mourned the loss of flavor.
Forcing your convictions upon others is not nice. Just because you believe something, does not mean that everyone else must agree with you. It begs the question: Is it possible for two people to hold different opinions without becoming adversaries?
Opinionated people are everywhere. One person has strong convictions, and they are willing to fight you if you disagree. While another person refuses to divulge their opinions for fear that they will be considered judgmental, or be bullied.
Opinionated people have torn down Civil War monuments, burned cars, looted businesses, and disrupted town hall meetings. If you disagree with them, you become susceptible to outrage and protest. Simply posting in a blog that you stand for the national anthem and oppose abortion, quickly stirs controversy and threat. Is there no longer room for alternative perspectives?
It seems to me that the more we rail against bullying, the more bullying has commandeered the public discourse. Brute force has muscled its way into dominance over civilized dialogue. In my humble opinion, unless there is a dramatic change, this will not end well.
When Jesus came to earth, He boldly spoke his convictions of righteous love and cataclysmic spiritual upheaval. He said that the leaders of the current religious system were hypocrites, vipers, and liars (Matthew 23:22). He called the Gentiles “dogs” (Matthew 15:26), and the Scribes and Pharisees “blind fools” (Matthew 23:17). To the Roman governor Pilate, Jesus said, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).
Jesus was diametrically opposed to the status quo in every arena of life. But He never forced anyone to join his group. He presented the Truth, and let each man decide his own destiny. When the Herodians wanted to use Jesus to overthrow the Roman government (Mark 8), Jesus refused. He honored the God-given gift of choice.
Jesus does not make anyone do anything they do not want to do. Accepting Christ as Savior is a total choice of free will. Christians must lovingly present the options to seekers, and fully explain the results of their decisions (Romans 2:5). From there, each person makes up their own mind. This is called “free will.” The Word is true, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
So, go ahead and share your beliefs in love, but please, .......don’t take away my sugar!