Words of Hope: Confident and Compassionate Disagreement

Shann and I recently discussed how family issues become more difficult because many fear disagreements and conflicts. We have very few examples of people navigating disputes with health and compassion. Debates are uncomfortable and can lead to troubling outcomes and therefore are unpredictable. It’s easy to see how disagreement can head in the wrong direction. Dad made disagreement something I didn’t need to fear. I knew he and I would be able to challenge and talk about the issue without further distance or injury and that we would be closer for it. Dad understood communication needed safety, respect, boundaries, and tools of repair. Most people have no language of repair when a disagreement is escalating. They have cut-off, anger, bitterness, silence, distance, and frustration. These cannot work for anyone but the person in power. The person with the most power feels great about the outcome, but others do not and the person in power is shocked and hurt when others hate to be around them. Dad had tremendous power, but he surrendered this for the sake of love. He would listen instead of demand. He asked forgiveness first, most times in conflict. Dad could be stubborn sometimes when there were issues we couldn’t see eye to eye on, but we always returned to love and compassion, grace, and forgiveness. I never feared disagreement with my dad because I had absolute confidence we would navigate it with grace and ease.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:13-14