When Arguing Isn’t Fun Anymore

*Note: I am one day behind in my posts. This should have been posted yesterday. Today’s post will be coming later in the evening.

I want to remember that earthly power is temporary. Lent Week 3, Day 14

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I used to like arguing.

I am the youngest of 5 boys and, truth be told, I liked to instigate arguments with my brothers. In fact, if I could start an argument and get one of them in trouble it was a double bonus! (Please don’t tell them I admitted to that.)

And it didn’t really matter what the argument was about. It could be over what we watched on TV, where we sat in the car or around the dinner table, or about a perceived insult. I just loved to argue.

And that morphed a bit as I grew older. As I matured, I moved away from the silliness of youth and began to focus my arguments on a topic that truly was important: sports.

Being the only member of my family born outside of Texas (for which I am eternally grateful), I decided to be the anti-Texan in all things sports. My favorite football team was the San Francisco 49ers; just because the rest of my family hated them. We used to yell about teams, yell about players, yell about officials. We would yell about everything sports related.

And this was just not with my family. My college roommates are still astounded at some of the sports opinions I maintained…20+years ago. When my family moved to Western New York where I worked as a preacher for many years, I developed my own on-air persona with a local call in show. It was fun. I got to call in and tell the host and his listeners how wrong they were all the time!

And then something happened. Arguing was no longer fun anymore. Life became too serious.

I cannot pinpoint it. I cannot describe one incident that caused, or at least initiated, the change. I just realized one day I don’t like arguing anymore.

I am so tired weary of the yelling. Of the posturing. Of the “it must be this way and no other.” While I do not believe social media created this phenomenon, it has definitely worked to enhance it.

So now I cannot even enjoy the meaningless sports arguments anymore because I am so fed up and worn out by the more serious ones.

And I believe I have determined, at least for me, what the issue is: we are arguing about temporary topics with eternal ends in mind.

Take sports as an example. Growing up, I argued with my brother (12 years older than me) about who was greater: Michael Jordan or Larry Bird. Today, I argue with people who are 12 years younger than me about who is greater: Michael Jordan or LeBron James. And in 12 years, the argument will be the same; it’s just that the players named will be different.

But on the more serious side: when I begin to argue about political parties and platforms and platitudes and policies, I am so quickly drawn into arguing the temporary over the eternal.

It should not matter which party you affiliate with:

people should be treated with dignity
the poor should be taken care of
the foreigner should be welcomed
the hungry should be fed
the lonely should be visited
the grieving should be comforted
the prisoner should be treated as a human being
the person who disagrees with me should still be treated as a person

One of the issues in today’s world my little slice of the world today is that we believe that what we believe is of more importance than relationship with others. Nations rise and fall. Governments come and go. Countries dissolve. Leaders retire, lose re-election, die.

But the principles we should hold dear last forever.

I think it is important to have opinions. I think it is important to stand up for what one believes in. I think it is important to read and research and ask questions and increase knowledge about any topic. But can we remember that the principles that lead us to our opinions are more important than our opinions?

Arguing is no fun anymore. Because not only are relationships being broken, the people who need our help the most are being forgotten.

I am weary. God, please give me the strength to see the people I come in contact with the way You see them. Give me the strength to shut my mouth and open my heart and hands.

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