“‘That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” ~Jonathan Swift
We are not all the same, but we were never intended to be. A single note holds meaning, but greater beauty is produced by dissimilar notes pressed into service cooperatively. Single notes sound forth a simple melody, but chords navigate and convey the complexity of a symphony. The larger question in life is not how to avoid conflict, but rather, how do I manage dissonance? I rarely read authors with whom I know I fully agree. Frankly, I am convinced of what I believe, making it all the more critical that I test those beliefs against divergent voices. I am stretched to think deeply when someone challenges my sacred presuppositions and forces me to reexamine in light of Scripture rightly divided. The individuals that help refine me are those who refuse to accept me at face value and push to see if there is substance behind profession. Disagreement may be voiced in love. There is no plot without conflict; I am able to improve because of friction rising from dissonance. Never give hatred a foothold. Choose to rise above anger and learn from it. Re-evaluate your position and humbly admit when you are wrong. “One of the truest signs of maturity is the ability to disagree with someone while still remaining respectful” (Dave Willis). Humble yourself by refusing to gloat when you are right. Whether we want to admit it or not, we do not grow in an environ of sameness. We flourish as we push back from what we recognize of ourselves in those we oppose, and as we give the Father space and permission to prune us in the process.