Do you ever get in discussions/arguments, only to discover that you are talking about two different things with your word? Sometimes you agree much more than you thought. The problem would have been solved…and you could have saved a lot of wasted time and effort if only you had defined your terms in the first place. This is particularly a problem when the words being discussed are hot-button terms that generate a lot of emotion!Defining terms often clarifies what the issue of our discussion/argument is all about. Click To Tweet
When I watch discussions on TV on political issues, I get so irritated when I realize one side is talking about one thing and the other side is talking about something completely different! Usually, they don’t think to take time to define their terms up front and definitely they don’t think to admit in the middle that they realize they don’t disagree as much as it seems. That maybe they just need to take a minute to stop and define their terms. Listening to each other wouldn’t hurt. One would think that money was riding on all this dissension! stop
Defining terms is even more important when discussing issues of faith!
Of course, when it comes to issues of faith, it is even more of a problem! We get caught in arguments over things that have no eternal significance when we need to be showing a loving spirit and finding out where the person it in their understanding. What do they understand and believe? How did they get there? If they state that they don’t believe in GOD, what led them to that position? For all we know, they may have been hurt by people in ways we need to understand before we start some huge argument about the existence of GOD. Maybe they are still in the throes of grief from the death of their mom at age 10!Defining terms is even more important when discussing issues of faith! Click To Tweet
We tend to not show enough respect for the pain and life experience of others. I say this from painful personal life experience of my own. I have hurt people horribly in my quest for truth and accuracy over kindness and love too often. Fortunately, I married someone wired kinder and more lovingly than I. The Holy Spirit also has worked in my heart along the way as well!
So as we discuss…whether it is our faith, politics, or any other topic, learn to define terms before getting into too heated a debate. There are plenty of times we disagree for sure. But often, when we define terms, we find that our disagreements aren’t as severe as we once thought…or our disagreements are over something different than we thought.
There is an old saying that is a great one: You can disagree without being disagreeable. I love it.
on a personal note, my husband is home from the hospital and is doing really well! If you didn’t read about what happened with him, look here.
Hi Martha. It’s so nice to “meet” you. I’m visiting from Five Minute Friday, and was drawn to your post (by the interesting title and picture). It was nice to read a bit about you and I love that you’re writing from an “older” perspective. I’m almost 51 and already feel I’m one of the “older” ones, but we need so much to hear from those who have experienced life before us.
I really appreciate what you wrote about today, as our good communication is SO important, from within our families and personal relationships, to politics and other hot topics. Clearly defining what we’re talking about would solve and even prevent so many misunderstandings.
Keep on sharing your wisdom with the world!
nice to meet you ann:) i agree. that is what started me on this blogging thing! i saw all the advice being given by people who had only lived part of the journey…particularly the child-raising one, and said, “i know i’m not much of a writer, but someone has to speak into this!” that was 2007 i think when i started my first blog (different name). i used to write more often but this past 6 months to a year has been a little more difficult re writing and living so i have only been getting my once a week writing in as far as new writing goes.
ah yes… to the need to truly define terms. Very important that!
thanks for stopping by annette:) just to clarify. i speak from the perspective of one who has failed in this area often:( that’s how i have learned why it is so important!
Great post Martha and so relevant! My own use of words have gotten me in trouble so often! I am surprised my mouth is not yet the shape of my mouth. Writing helps. It causes me to slow down and think. So sorry to hear of your husband’s stroke. May you both continue to find Christ in the midst of it.
mary, i have always been one to talk first and think later. it has taken me a lifetime to learn to think first…have made lots of mistakes in the put foot in mouth dept! 🙁 writing has helped me as well…to slow my brain down and get my thought organized.
thanks for you tho’ts re my husband’s stroke. his first was 2 years ago. this was his second. no after effects from this one…as far as we can tell. blessings:)
glad you came by mandy:) nice to see you today.
You are right, defining terms is essential in a discussion — but discussions about anything are hard to have nowadays. 🙁 Prayed for you and your husband — for courage, health and strength!
Oh, yes! I used to complain about this all the time until I realized I was using a couple of words incorrectly. LOL Great post!
haha pam:) i’m glad you stopped by.
Yes! This is such a wise and helpful post. I’m over in the 55 spot this week.
thanks tara:) glad you stopped by today.
So true – and wise words. I’ve often thought the same thing when hubby and I are animatedly discussing something about which we think we disagree… when we take time to stop, let emotion subside and really define what we are discussing, we really are just in different paragraphs on the same page. 🙂
“haha richelle:) i like that term. “different paragraphs on the same page.” i’m glad you stopped by!