When someone disagrees with you, be tender without surrender. You will never be able to please everyone. You will always meet people who like to argue and quarrel. Some people will contradict everything you say. How should you respond to them? One of the tests of spiritual maturity is how you handle those who disagree with you. Some people have a need to demolish anyone who disagrees with them. If you challenge them or offer a comparison, complaint, or criticism, they respond with a full-blown personal attack. Then what do you do? You have three alternatives:
(1) You can retreat in fear. Many people choose this route because they haven’t developed the ability to respond in gentleness. So, if you’re a ‘peace at any price’ person, it will have hidden costs in your life’s most important relationships.
(2) You can react in anger. Anger is often a tell-tale sign that you feel insecure and threatened by someone’s disapproval. It’s a warning light that tells you you’re about to lose something, often your self-esteem. When we become angry, often we become sarcastic and attack the other person’s self-worth.
(3) You can respond in gentleness. ‘A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.’ This is the kind of response that requires a fine balance between maintaining your right to an opinion, while equally respecting another person’s right to their opinion. It requires being tender without surrendering your convictions. Sometimes you must stand by your convictions. But other times you will find you’re answering this question: ‘Is our relationship more important than the point I’m trying to prove?’