A pinch of sweet humility

Perspective

. . . and the way you see it isn’t necessarily the way I see it.

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When people make a statement and present it as a fact when it hasn’t been proven to be true, it’s logical that arguments will follow. When people share their beliefs as “statements of fact,” it’s reasonable that listeners not of their faith will feel annoyed and marginalized by them.

In my experience, conversation becomes much more pleasant when we share our thoughts and ideas with a pinch of sweet humility:

“It seems to me that . . . ”
“In my experience . . . ”
“Maybe I’m wrong, but I think . . . ”
“I’ve been told . . . ”
“According to [so and so], . . . ”
“In my opinion, . . . ”
“I feel very concerned that . . . ”
“My current understanding is . . . ”
“After considering the matter carefully, I’ve concluded that . .. ”

Would that we could all shed the habit of stating as fact our subjective opinions, beliefs, and unproven ideas! A lot of heated arguments might be avoided if we treated ideas as IDEAS rather than IRREFUTABLE TRUTHS.

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Let’s see this in practice!

EXAMPLE #1
“God came to earth as the babe in Bethlehem.”
(Unprovable. Too definitive.)

The Bible proclaims that God came to earth as the babe in Bethlehem.
(There is a Bible. It does speak of a babe in Bethlehem. However, not all Christians would agree that the Bible proclaims that Jesus is God. Slightly too definitive.)

I believe Jesus when he states in John Chapter 8, ‘Before Abraham was born, I am.’ I believe that he is God! I have faith that he was Yahweh come to earth as the babe in Bethlehem!
(Yes, the person is stating what she/he believes definitively, but he/she is not stating her beliefs as unqualified truth statements. Appropriately non-definitive.)

EXAMPLE #2:
The Republicans candidates are all a bunch of idiots.
(Unproven. Opinion, not fact. Too definitive.)

The Republicans are solely to blame for shutting down the government with their filibuster.
(The government may have been shut down. There may have been a filibuster. But did the Republicans deserve ALL the blame for shutting down the government? Is there more to the story that needs to be explored? Slightly too definitive.)

I am irate at the Republicans for shutting down the government! It was completely insensitive of them to put so many families at risk who depend upon their government paychecks to pay their bills!
(Yes, he/she feels irate at the Republicans. But did the Republicans unilaterally shut down the government? Were families actually put at risk? The statement that it was insensitive of the Republicans is more likely an opinion than an accepted fact. Still slightly too definitive.)

How dare the Republicans filibuster?!
(While the statement shows some personal ire, its being stated as a question does allow for multiple responses. Appropriately non-definitive.)

Now, to put this into practice . . . !

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About Shaunalei

Sometimes working toward peace is a serious business; other times it's just a whole lot of fun. I created "Peace by Piece" as a storehouse for some of my thoughts. (Aren't you lucky to have found them?!) Enjoy!
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