On Facebook, I have a combined list of friends and followers that number in the thousands. I only mention the number issue for the context of what I want to say. From time to time, in a sea of “friends,” someone will become a friend who disagrees with me. They stand out because of the unpleasant nature of their disagreement. I had a person like that who just unfollowed me. Over the years, each time this person confronted me through a negative comment, my first response was, “Did they actually read what I wrote.” Today, I realized they had enough of me and unfollowed my Facebook page.
Here is the strange thing, I actually felt a bit sad when they left. I was sad that expressing a personal opinion would lead to a dismissal. The person is a follower of Jesus. I always thought the body of Christ could express opposing opinions and still be able to find the way forward, working together to understand each other’s viewpoints and grow in the process.
What are our relationships going to look like on Wednesday, November 4, the day after the 2020 Presidential election? How about the day after a verdict is issued for a heated trial? Or what about the aftermath of another police shooting when the full video is released, not just a cropped version used to create a false narrative and stir dissent?
We could make a long list of relationship breakers some people might think are reasons to say goodbye to a person of an opposing opinion. For me, it’s a sad thing because it can announce to the world that people of faith do not have the emotional or spiritual bandwidth to process challenging issues and still remain in a relationship. It is also sad because if we remove opposing opinions and the challenges they bring to our thinking process, we will create an echo chamber where the only input we receive is the sound of our own voice.