About the Author

Deidra is a national speaker and the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, and One: Unity in a Divided World. Follow Deidra on Instagram @deidrariggs

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  1. Deidra,
    That was good of you to recognize what you slowly…step by step had done. Few of us like to take a sober look at ourselves. I try to take my cues from how Jesus handled confrontation. When He spoke to groups (especially those that included the Pharisees and other naysayers), He didn’t point His finger in confrontation or try to talk louder and stronger than everyone else…no, He asked questions that made them think. He made points, softly, that were counter culture at the time, that made them have to step back and ponder their long held (and often stubborn) beliefs. As my dad used to say, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” To me that “stick” is God’s Word. I try not to bash people over the head with scripture, but used in the right way, scripture can make people back down and ponder. In this world of chaos, I take comfort that all of this is not something that God hasn’t seen before. He is bigger than all our infighting. He is in control and He’s got this. Instead of aligning myself with candidates and causes, I try to align myself with Him…that for me is a win-win. Great thought provoking post, Deidra.

    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites”, “whitewashed tombs” and a “brood of vipers”. Not pot-stirring, just clarifying.

      • Good point, Liz. Yes, Jesus did use righteous anger when called for. He saved the anger for limited occasions, but most of the time He carefully and quietly pointed out their hypocrisy. I feel like in today’s media there is just anger and tongue lashing 24/7 with no points being offered to really make people ponder. Jesus knew when and how to use righteous anger…our tongues, however, are more like knives that cut and don’t help our cause…thanks for an added perspective.
        Bev

        • Both of these points are excellent and valid. I’m not sure if Scripture says that Jesus spoke softly, whether in intonation or in point-making. He made some rather earth-shattering, mind-boggling proclamations and asked teeth-rattling questions. But I think it goes without saying that His purposes were ones permeated with love and grace. Truth-telling, no matter how hard, should always be done from a position of love, permeated with grace (and for us as Christians, with a fair amount of humility, and logging-pulling from our own distorted eyes). Thank you so much, ladies, for sharing these needed, insightful perspectives.
          Blessings,
          Lynn

    • Beautifully said on all accounts today. I struggle sometimes with my opinions and point of view. It has even put rifts between me and family members. I recently had a conversation with my sister about bathrooms….it ended almost as quickly as it started. She simply said I am not going to debate this with you….I backed down in the interest of peace for the moment and for the others at the table, but I often wonder what Jesus would have done….if he would let it lie or not. It’s hard to navigate these turbulent wagers, especially with people we love. I’ve been spending the summer reading the gospels…slowly, in an attempt to let His ways sink deeply into my soul….I’m hoping to be able to navigate more intelligently in the future…learn the art of the question. Thank you for helping me to put this all into perspective:) peace

      • Lisa,
        “Learn the art of the question.” I love this!! Jesus was a master in the art of asking a question…maybe if we all asked more and preached less, we’d come to a better understanding of where people are coming from?? This is a challenge for me, because I can easily get up on my soapbox….
        Bev

        • And an art it is! As with all creative arts, it takes time and sometimes many mistakes before we become proficient with the medium…..truly a gift.

    • The part about asking good questions. I want that. I know people who are fantastic question-askers. The ability to ask one good question–without judgement–can be the perfect catalyst for the right kind of change.

      • A wise suggestion–to practice the art of the good question. Less threatening than telling or even “sharing.” Lord, help me to ask more and state less!

        • This thread is SO very timely for me for several reasons! The first: I was just recently befriended by someone who, while I thought we were having a respectful dialog, was evidently only interested in a monologue. And it dawned on me at that time how small that person’s bubble must be, and while I found it irritating, even more so, I found it very sad. The second reason: I have to deal with an issue regarding a ministry that I lead, and it’s likely to be a little sensitive. I’m trying to be sure that I have my heart right before I ever open my mouth, and that I am able to address the issues openly, respectfully, honestly, and with God’s love…. in a way that will be successful and productive. No small task …. but not impossible if I put God first and follow Jesus’ example. I really needed the reminder to ask questions that will make them ponder the issue further. I had been thinking of that earlier, and this thread reminded me to be very mindful in what I ask, and even more importantly HOW I ask. Two of my favorite scriptures that I lean on at times like this are 2-Thess 3:5 ” May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance”…… and Prov 18:2 “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion” I actually write them down and place them in front of me as a reminder during such conversations. Thank you for the gentle reminder to prepare my heart before God, instead of preparing my argument before man.
          Enjoy and IN joy!

          • Great scriptures to rely on, Kim. When God leads you to speak, may the words flow from his Spirit, and may the results of your conversation not only resolve the issue, but bring new joy, passion, and impact to “your” ministry!

  2. Well……………I can say nothing other than you are 10x the Christian and 10x the woman that I am. I try my best from terrible experiences, rejections, being bankrupted, abused, etc that my best hope for harmonious relationships that do not require more than a yearly snarky remark, is to speak to people who have some interests in common with me, a similiar sense of Monty Python-esque humor, a love of beautiful things, a belief in Christ as Redeemer. I do not believe in opposites attracting, the less I have in common with someone, the less likely we will survive for long.

    My whole life from toddlerhood ( is that even a word ? ) up has been nothing but abuse, drama, rejection, isolation, alientation, being the token whatever ( white, Italian, Catholic, American, fat, educated, etc ), so now I have no interest in stretching myself, at 55 I have finally earned my life to be as drama free and peaceful as I can make it.

    You are quite amazing to do likewise. I salute you.

    • I went through a pretty significant time of turbulence and relished the peace that eventually came. But that too has had its limits. When you are ready the Lord will lead you back into the fray….not like before, but with wisdom and grace that you can share with others who are struggling as you once did….that is the way of it. Scary territory, but immensely rewarding. It just isn’t your time yet Elizabeth-Ann….be at peace with Him.

    • Life just isn’t easy. Really it’s not. We Live in a fallen world. We are foreigners in this land. When we believe in Jesus as our savior our eternal home is in heaven Where there is no pain or tears. I, too, have experienced neglect, abandonment and abuse. It sounds like we both deal with trust issues. Letting people into our world can be oh, so scary. Yet when we isolate that’s not healthy at all. We then spiral around and become even more hopeless. I have found great understanding about me and why I do what I do through Celebrate Recovery (a Bible-based 12 step. ) God can use your hurt for his glory. When you are ready.
      God has a plan and purpose and you… All of you. It gives me great joy to bring Jesus hope to someone else through my story.

    • I’m no different from you, sister. This is me, writing a blog post. I got to edit, delete, rethink, etc. Writing a blog post about this idea is one thing. Living it is a whole different experience, right?

  3. This is great and all, but sometimes we have to unfriend and even block those who abuse us and are cruel. I have a sister who treats me horrible. She states she loves me, when I really question that sometimes,but she constantly talks behind my back and tears me down for things that bless me or bless others. I received disability due to my health and she is jealous she did not…..so rips me. I have a loving husband and she does not….so she rips me. She has even gone far enough to tell our own mother to kick us out of our house that mom owns…..sell it and let us live in our trailer so that mom can take the money. How loving is that? She would view my facebook and rip me when I would post a prayer request and say I have no pain tolerance or rip me when I posted a blessing saying “it must be nice”. It hurts deeply. I have forgiven her and we talk from time to time…..but I have still have her unfriended and our conversations do not include any personal information about myself. I get sick with meningitis when I get stressed and have had it 3 times in a year…..the doc says I may not be able to handle one more episode…..so should I not block her???? I feel bad, but as you said, I do feel peace……

    • Opinions are one thing….abuse is totally another. I don’t believe God would have us stay in an abusive or toxic relationship and that sounds like what your sister is dishing out. You can still pray for her, but to guard your heart it sounds like blocking is needed. Praying for God to give you HIS discernment. B

      • I agree Beverly. It is one thing to understand where others are coming from, quite another to continually let someone beat you down. I come from a past abusive marriage….I have forgiven him, but that doesn’t mean that I want to continue to be his punching bag….verbal or otherwise.

        • Lisa,
          I, too, came from an abusive marriage so I know that of which you speak…it’s OKAY to set boundaries to protect yourself (God’s precious daughter in whom HE delights).
          Blessings to you kindred spirit,
          Bev

          • What a gift you are to one another! Love this conversation. Sadtosay, I hear you, and I agree with what our sisters have said, here. I’m praying God’s peace over you, and for your sister as well. May God bring healing to your heart, friend, and may it be a healing that is beyond anything you could hope or even imagine.

    • sadtosay, same here with my brother. I had to initiate boundaries between us b/c, like you said, he says all the time how much he loves me but he slanders me to my kids and is withholding my kids’s share of an inheritance my mother left them. It’s painful to not have a relationship with him, but until we can talk about this with a third party present and sort everything out, I’m not sure we can have a real connection. Praying for you, your health, and good for you for recognizing that you matter and you need to take care of yourself.

  4. The author makes excellent points! However, I don’t think social media is necessarily the place to seek different thoughts and opinions than my own. Social media is often negative and downright mean. I’d rather have an actual conversation with someone about their views on the world rather than someone’s heated opinion in a quick one liner. I got off social media a few months ago and couldn’t be happier. Now I have similar discussion, but no one “screams” at each other, we don’t tear each other down, and people actually listen.

    Maybe I missed the point of the article? I just find social media to lack any depth.

    • True….it can be difficult to traverse and definitely not a place to see the “real” because no one gives their real…only what they want others to see. But it is a way to step into the lives of others we wouldn’t necessarily “meet” otherwise. I have met many new friends and had many wonderful and thought provoking conversations. And as an introvert, these relationship although somewhat removed, have helped me to grow in ways that I never would have without….

    • Hi, Chelsey!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that social media isn’t for everyone. It has been a beautiful teacher to me, and the source of deeply meaningful friendships. Social media has also really helped to grow my faith.

      I think the concept of “unfriending” extends beyond social media. It sounds as if you’re experiencing significant interactions in your face-to-face friendships. Yay! Whether on social media, or face-to-face, you are engaging in conversations that make you think, and that open you up to opinions, people, and lifestyles that are different from (and maybe even challenging to) your way of seeing the world. I think that’s fantastic!

      • Hi, Deidra!

        I’m a flight attendant so I have such a unique perspective. I am open to opportunities to meet so many different people. Not everyone has the chance to do so.

        I LOVE carrying the “unfriending” idea over into my real relationships (as you mentioned) because it’s so easy to shun those we don’t agree with (even unintentionally). Looking at it from that perspective, yes, it’s been truly eye opening to be challenged by others who differ so much from me.

  5. I agree about having different viewpoints around, but I think on social media we can become…not people. Not humans with hearts and stories and hurts and a fantastic laugh, but just loud voices shouting our opinions.
    Social media can be like the neighbor who moves in to your house and talks nonstop, infiltrating a pleasant day with your family and causing upsets out of nowhere.
    I don’t think it is the same. When i hear differing viewpoints online it often overwhelms me.
    When I find out a differing viewpoint of a friend or neighbor it stretches me, slowing growing my understanding of the world coupled with love for that person.
    For myself, i limit my social media, and who i follow on it.

    • I completely understand how you feel here. I tend to want to do the same…pull away. A recent conversation comes to mind here though. My ex, who is emotionally and verbally abusive, called me up late one night. I haven’t talked to him in some time, so I thought something might be wrong with our daughter…so I answered. I was met with this onslaught of words…a tirade really about something that was going on in the life of our “troubled” daughter. He was calling her names and saying all sorts of unkind things. I was patient and let him finish
      …difficult for me given our past….and I simply spoke life into the situation. I pleaded with him to treat her with love. Not to condone the behavior for sure…but that the yelling and screaming and name calling was not helping at all. By the end of our conversation he had calmed down, and we were able to deal with the situation logically and with love for her. Every conversation since has been calmer…mostly. and we are finally working together for her good…it is possible to diffuse anger….but not WITH anger…with love and patience.

    • It’s so important to know your own boundaries, and it sounds as if you do! That’s perfect! There is absolutely no reason to make yourself engage in a forum that brings you great stress and anxiety.

      I was finding myself stepping away from people whose opinions were different from mine, and that made my world so much smaller; my friendships so much more limited. I couldn’t square that up with Jesus’ desire for us to “go into all the world” so I began to pay attention to my feelings of frustration, stress, disappointment, anxiety, and even anger. God is always calling us toward others—even those who rub us the wrong way. I wanted to find a way out of my running away, and figure out how to move toward others in love, even when I disagree with them. It took a while, but I began to see how my desire for self-preservation was impacting my ability to hear different opinions, even when others seemed to be yelling at me.

      You’ve got to do what’s best for you, friend. This post is just me, telling my story. I’ve found so much more freedom in staying engaged, rather than unfriending. I’m learning that God is definitely able to more than I ever thought possible—even when people are yelling and screaming, and—quite miraculously—the Spirit of God always ushers in calm…even in the midst of chaos.

  6. This is an interesting topic. With regards to “Social Media,” I have enough real life drama that I don’t want to take on someone else’s created drama. Many like to sit behind a screen and type their snarky thoughts. I’d prefer to hear it in person, if they have the guts to speak their thoughts out loud.

    I want the real life conversation on the hard topics. I want to sit and hear what is on someone else’s mind. I find that places like here encourage the thoughtful conversation that I want if I can’t find it on social media.

    • I hear you, r.c. Thanks so much for sharing. I, too, want the real life conversation on the hard topics. I have found it’s possible on social media, just as it is possible, face-to-face. But, boy! Does it ever take work! So glad you’ve found Incourage to be a safe place to have the kinds of conversations you seek.

      I do want to say one thing about snarkiness, because it’s come up a few times and (sadly perhaps) we’ve become masters at it, haven’t we? Sometimes, I think people use snarkiness because they’ve tried to be heard every other way, and snarkiness is the only way they can get others to listen. I don’t know. I could be wrong about that. But, I think snark often comes from a place of frustration. Other times, of course, it’s just someone trying to be funny—sometimes with success, and other times, not.

  7. I enjoyed this article, but am a little confused by the author’s point. I find when I’ve shared my opposing thoughts on nonChristian websites—-peacefully, diplomatically—-things *do* get heated and people can become incredibly unkind. And the thought of being a “devil’s advocate”–it’s something I’ve done but have learned it’s not worth it. It just seems the author is encouraging it.

    And “staying at the table…long enough to find God” doesn’t reflect the attention span of people (including me!) online. It’s a beautiful, worthy thought, but one that *most of the time* doesn’t work ideally online in comments sections of websites.

    The only reason I’m expressing this here is b/c we all serve the same God and I feel a freedom to do say it; anywhere else online, no way; I know I would be pounced on and ripped apart.

    • You bring up a great point, Lou. People can become incredibly unkind when opposing thoughts are expressed. It’s true. I could write a book about this, in fact. For now, what I’ll say is that Jesus is my example for this. As I’ve considered my gut instinct to unfriend or close myself off from the unkind responses, I return, again and again, to Jesus on the cross. He always moved toward us—towards me—and not away. And, as people mocked him, spit on him, beat him, and hung him up to die, his words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them. They have no idea what they are doing.” That takes my breath away, and I want to be more like that. That kind of compassion, concern, forgiveness, and love recognized the pain (and maybe even fear) in the person hurling insults and—ultimately—that compassion, concern, forgiveness, and love? It changed the world.

        • I do understand quite well, and I have done this myself a time or two.. I have learned to be a little more grown up about the matter but keeping ones own negativity from taking over takes patience and time. This was very good, thank you for sharing.

  8. I have enjoyed reading this today. I only started on Pinterest and blogging a couple of years ago. I purposely stayed away from Facebook because of shall we say childish people that I knew were arguing. God must have stumbled me onto Pinterest where I can have fun and post verses and pictures to encourage women. I have had about three or four crude comments, I deleted them, one I answered, thanked her for commenting and told her this verse was a promise for believers, no reply. Then I started out with a blog during the 31 Day Writing Challenge, I’ve got nothing but positive comments. I know that all races and religions are looking on. I have prayed for Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christians all denominations. Jesus did call people out, He cleansed the temple. He did it in love. It was up to them whether or not they took offense or repented, which is just changing your mind and heart. The same is true of us. I don’t like or arguing, it is best to make your point and move on. Jesus could have been offended when the disciples asked Him if He cared? But He wasn’t. I know we can all share without being to personal, we can even agree to disagree. Jesus called us friends, everybody may not be that close and we probably will have to distance ourselves somewhat but that’s okay. Great conversation, great post, Diedra

  9. Deidra, I am so grateful to the Lord for this posting. Bev, so grateful for your generous reply :). The Lord so amazes in His knowing all that we need each day to heal and persevere- It so warms my heart. May we each continue to move forward loving each other where we are with His compassion and mercy so that we see how we all are His children and need each other, coming together to help each other grow through our differences and sameness 🙂

  10. I really love this site. It is clear from all my replies that I am the token ‘ messed up trainwreck ‘, a survivor of a childhood filled with physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse, which infiltrated my DNA and colored my entire life. Abused and unhappy children often grow up to be young adults, then full adults who don’t have the tools to negotiate life as they’ve been told for so many years what garbage they are, so it is one mistake and bad choice after another, often with dire consequences, in my case, loser user men and two unwanted pregnancies as a very young woman, 35 years ago.

    I’ve tried my entire life to fit in somewhere and with someone, both male and female and it never works, I am either the token, or as disposible as a used tissue, so I developed agoraphobia and even though my life is as small as a grain of sand, and I spend nearly all my time alone in my room with my books, cds, alter, and lovely Civil War photographs lovingly displayed. I am alone, I am lonely, I have no husband, boyfriend, children or family save my 86 year old father, and while I am lonely a lot of the time, I still choose it over endless drama, fighting, stress and aggravation of trying to fit into a world that never wanted me from the get go. In a time when it wasn’t ‘ done ‘, I was born illegimate and raised by an extremely bitter, angry, frustrated woman who needed a punching bag.

    Yet with all my flaws, psy diagnosis’s, past, imperfects, I have been treated with respect, kindness and love, so I may be odd man odd yet again, but I am staying just the same.

  11. Deidra,

    I am not into social media that much. I don’t like making snarky remarks or putting anything out there that takes away from people seeing Jesus in me! ‘Peace doesn’t take the easy way out’ and I don’t want to either. Would love to be more like Jesus and question people who disagree with me, allowing them to share their opinions. Jesus always did everything from a standpoint of love and never tried to “fit in” to society’s norms.

    Blessings 🙂

  12. Deidra,
    this strikes home with me. I have done the very same thing – I unfollow and avoid the people that offend me and my God. My blood would boil on a regular basis I simply took the easy way out. But you are right – Peace sometimes needs to do its job by sticking around and “staying at the table” as you said.
    How do you deal with it, though? How am I to sit by and watch people rip each other to shreds? I do not want to jump into the ring, but I don’t want my world to be so small and homogenous.

  13. I do not believe in having a huge amount of friends on Facebook (right now the number stands at 164). The people I have friended there are people I knew in school, people I know from church, and family members. And, I was attending a large church and did not know everyone so I will not accept friends I do not know. I have at least one friend from school who does not have the same religious beliefs I do and in fact is involved in tarot card reading-but she grew up literally across the street from me so I am keeping her on my list. I recently unfriended one person I also knew from my neighborhood because I did not like the way he responded to a comment I put on one of his posts and also because I have a very unpleasant memory of this person from my teen age years and so I really don’t think it’s healthy for me to even think about him, leave him in the past. So I definitely agree that to some extent we need to have people who are not of the exact same mindset as we are-as long as they don’t try to make us change our personal beliefs.

  14. I find it very interesting to read your comments and post. The thing you forget is we have free will, we make the choices we make, are not always the right ones and we are creature put together by raw emotions. We decide if we help someone, open up to them, or take what they say and we decide how we act towards them. There are some left in this world that will give up everything just to help them, there are some things that God still allows to be magical and there are a few that want our otherhalf so we can talk and hold just just whisper in her her I don’t want you to change but am happy as we are. All those feelings inside us are the most amazing thing God gave us, those emotions are real and can hurt but love always finds away. Much love.