agree to disagree & the exploding lawnmower

Last night, I was mowing my lawn. I love to mow the lawn, seriously. While mowing, my lawnmower unexpectedly and ferociously exploded. Metal shrapnel flew from its side. The funny thing is that I did not tuck and roll away, but I just stood there in shock and awe. In actuality, the explosion wasn’t all that powerful, I just like exaggerating the story for dramatic effect.

Gaining a right perspective isn’t always easy. As the old saying goes, “There are always two sides to every story.” There were two blind men were describing the same elephant. One described a short, skinny trunk while the other was certain the tail was long and fat. Truth is, the men were holding opposite ends of the elephant. While their descriptions were accurate, their facts were flawed. Both men were correct in their assessment but wrong in their conclusion. The men were both unwilling to accept the other’s perspective.

How is it possible that two honest people can describe the same experience in categorically opposite ways? Take Solomon for example. He was a real wise guy, and he understood the power of having a right perspective. When two women claimed the same baby as their own, he offered to help by cutting the child in half. One of the mothers decided to save the baby because seeing the baby live became most important. Solomon’s offer was more than a compromise. This was the ultimate test for this mom. For her, having nothing was better than having something. She was willing to give up her baby in order to give it life, and the end she prevailed.

Most disagreements are rooted in selfishness (James 4:1-2). We fail to acknowledge other valid perspectives. Some who disagree are not capable of differentiating between opinion and truth, and often exaggerate their stories to fit their perspectives. We must continually ask ourselves: have I objectively listened to all sides of the story? Am I responding biblically?

Disagreement is an opportunity to gain broader perspectives, important insight and respect for the opinions of others. Disagreements can serve as a way to demonstrate compassion, genuine interest in others as well as build bridges. Though consensus may never come, and compromise may not be accomplished agreeing to disagree may be all that is possible. Nonetheless, I Peter 3:8 serves as an excellent guide when approaching one another with conflicting perspectives. “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”

Well, I am off to shop for a new lawnmower!!

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