Several years back some disagreements arose locally regarding our website. I discussed/debated the issues with one brother in particular (primarily via email–that was a mistake). The matters in question pertained to expediencies (but he believed they were black & white matters of right/wrong). My approach was that I wanted to discuss the matter thoroughly and if he couldn’t be persuaded, then we would take no action (per Rom. 14). I had no intention of forcing my position into action, but I’ve always enjoyed discussing things and challenging inconsistencies. As the tone started to slip a bit in the email exchange, I should have had the insight to know that this brother was getting very upset. What was an intellectual discussion to me was a fight for him. We had a good relationship (I thought) but he suddenly left the church here for an non-institutional group nearby and branded me a liberal all over central IL.
There’s a lot more to this situation (as you might imagine), but the main lesson I learned is this: Don’t have serious discussions/debates via email if you can do so in person instead! It’s too easy to be misunderstood and there are no non-verbal clues to pick up on.