This month, we had the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. What does the Church have to say about having respectful conversations between people who disagree?
Christians are not removed from the world and its conflicts. Indeed, Jesus sends us “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Due to the complex nature of the human experience, the pressures of cultures that don’t share Christian values, and the difficulty of living the Gospel, even people of good will have conflicts! The Church has disagreements within herself. This has been the case from the beginning. In the letters of Paul, we see him writing to churches who disagree on how to best live the Gospel in everyday life. And different teachers went to cities after Paul and sometimes preached conflicting messages on who Jesus was.
When we encounter people who disagree with us – on topics large and small – we must remember basic Christian values. Respect and compassion are critically important. We need to be good listeners to grasp another person’s perspective. This dialogue doesn’t mean we compromise our values or deny the truth. We may still disagree, but our conversation can be a lot more civil if we try to understand each other!