Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Hill You Die On - Guest post from Ashton

The other day I was talking minor points of theology with a friend.  He mentioned a belief he has and then said, "But that's not a hill I'm willing to die on."  I had never heard anyone say that so it stuck with me.

Then, I saw a friend's post on Facebook. It was a good post - deep, personal, and moving.  But someone else had commented and absolutely murdered the person over a detail that wasn't even particularly relevant to the post.  It made me angry, and I pondered why someone would think that kind of angry, venomous response was appropriate.  They made a mountain out of a non-existent mole-hill.

Later, I was doing some class work and came across some very opinionated statements that I disagreed with, most strongly.  So I dashed off (more like deliberated over) a very thoughtful and carefully written post that would set the record straight and, simultaneously, show the professor where I stood and how clever I was. (Ha.)  But before I posted it I showed it to mom, who essentially told me I was making a mountain out of a mole-hill.  So I decided to wait and post it when I was less...passionate about it.  But waiting to post the response didn't stop me from thinking about it.  And suddenly everything hit me.  Was I just trying to make a point?  Did I just want to prove I was right?  Did I want to sound like the person on Facebook, blasting someone out of the water for a trivial detail?  Did this really matter?  Was this a hill I was willing to die on?

Now, I would venture to guess that we all come across things we disagree with or dislike.  We may even come across things that make our blood boil.  And in response, we don our armor and rush into battle.  I know I am guilty, and you probably are, too.

So allow me to humbly suggest a few things.

1. When you feel yourself disagreeing or getting angry, ask yourself, "Is this a hill I am willing to die on?"  Is what you are upset about such a big deal in the eternal scheme of things?  Are you literally, I mean literally, willing to die over that issue?

2. Don't assume they meant it like you took it.  The written word can be hard to accurately interpret.

3. If it is a hill you are willing to die on, is it something you would say to that person in person, out loud, while looking them in the eyes?  If it is, then you should probably say it to that person in person, out loud, while looking them in the eyes, not on Facebook or on a blog.

4. If you must say it, make sure it conforms to 1 Peter 3:15, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (NIV, emphasis mine)

I don't know about you, but I can't think of all that many hills I am willing to die on.  I realized that the issue I had written the post about to my professor wasn't one of them.  So the next time you dash off a snarky, I mean, well written and thoughtful post or comment, stop and ask yourself, "Is this a hill I'm willing to die on?"


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  1. Wow!!! Thanks for sharing this. This sure got me to thinking. I have been so guilty of this very thing. I want to let you know that I nominated your blog for the Liebster Award. You can find out more about this on my blog.

  2. Thoughtful piece there Ashton. It's good to stop and think before responding. :)


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