Are those who disagree with me my enemies? What can one discern about a man from how he treats those who disagree with him? I don’t feel comfortable when someone challenges my most sacred beliefs and assumptions about reality any more than the next man, but how I react to that challenger is probably the most valid test possible of my character and emotional maturity.
When we make those who disagree with us into enemies, then we multiply enemies like rabbits. A man with so many enemies can never be secure in his own identity. The resulting sense of insecurity will invariably lead to paranoid behavior. It also guarantees that a lack of dialogue and honest discussion of issues will forever stifle any opportunity for divergent opinions to coalesce into any meaningful compromise or synergism of thought. Such is the normal state of our society.
We all have strongly held beliefs, and we all cherish our own opinion. The inescapable fact is that many, many folks don’t share our beliefs and opinions. If we let that be a problem, instead of a growth opportunity, then it will be a problem forever. Diversity is an inescapable fact. To deny that is similar to ignoring the law of gravity. Our ignorance will not make a bit of difference to the inevitable outcome.
Some wise man has suggested that the way to overcome an enemy is to make him a friend. I think that wise man was originally the Apostle Paul.