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photo: CCO public domain

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.