The one that's been pinging around in the back of my mind for several days in the obscure shadows under my hair was, unsurprisingly (I suppose), prompted by a brief-ish exchange, in a longer conversation I had last Friday. For anonymity's sake, I'll refrain from mentioning by name the brother I was chatting with... :)
Anyways, last year, said young gentleman and I were both involved in multiple on-line conversations concerning politics and the Christian's civic duty. The point of this post is not to delve into the various, assorted views that got expounded on and argued over during those conversations, but to address something I said rather flippently last Friday.
The difference in political views cropped up (I believe I brought it up; probably as an example of how Christians can fellowship even when not extactly in-step with one another--at least I hope that's why I brought it up, because I sure wasn't trying to throw anything into his face). I then said rather laughingly, "We just won't talk about that!!"
And I got to thinking...is that really the right way to go about it? Sure, we've had these discussions before and we basically know where the other stands on the issue, but to just cut off the topic (jokingly or not)--is that right?
I'm not really sure.
I have certain personal reasons for not really wanting to wade knee-deep into particular topics, some of which being: 1) I hate tension and strife (particularly between family and friends), 2) I have a fierce loyality that causes my temper to flare if I perceive myself as being challenged or threatened, and 3) I hate being bested in a debate and looking like an idiot (even if only to myself).
So...it's really that second one that screams against me getting into such discussions. I must say the calmness and respect with which certain members of the "politics talks" of last fall treated me and my different thoughts really convicted me on my own snappish response to any challenge. However, I digress...
Should one steer clear of these kinds of conversations (knowing one has certain pitfalls) or should one not run from the conversations, but go in with an extra-guarded tongue (and frevent prayers for strength in controlling that firecracker temper that will bubble up, like it or not)? I guess the question really is: does one knowingly place themselves in a conversation which may cause a sinful response? (I am not blaming anyone or anything for causing my sin--that comes out of my own heart, but certain things do prompt it more quickly than others.) One often learns a lot in conversations that challenge them (least in my case) and in the end one has a deeper, more throrough knowledge of the other side(s) of an issue.
I do not want to lose my temper or lose my friends because I've behaved abominally--but neither do I want to ignore issues of great importance to me, simply because I might lose the ol' temper. (One nice thing about internet debates is that you can put the subject aside and come back to it in a way that you cannot with a one-on-one in-person conversation. However for all that, I would still rather discuss things face-to-face.)
So, when I laughed, "We just won't talk about that!" I think there are a couple of possibilites: 1) I was being a coward, 2) I was being spiritually and intellectually lazy, or 3) I was just shooting off with the mouth...because I really wouldn't mind having that conversation (or parts of it) with certain persons (in person) again. Or maybe it was a combination of the above.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on "getting into conversations that may cause you to get upset/lose your temper"? Really...I'm curious. I have my own ideas on this, but I'm not sure I can articulate them, so I'll clam up for the moment. :)