My friend, may I ask you a question? As a Christian, how should we face conflict? Should we be engaging in argument at all; or, if we do, is there a good way to do it in line with God’s Word?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
Do you like a good argument? Some people do, others don’t. Lately, however, argument has taken a turn away from ideas and perilously close to disparaging vilification. Unfortunately in today’s cultural climate discussions have become more polemic than political. It seems that far too many have taken to arguing as opposed to posing a good argument. There is a difference. For my part I am uncomfortable with arguing, but quite comfortable with a good argument; where both sides of the question have an opportunity to speak, never one over the other. It probably goes back to my High school days and the proper rules of debate I learned. To the point therefore; I don’t shy away from a good argument; whereas my wife Holly has little use for them. Genetically, we’ve passed this on to our children as well. One, for example, may prefer to slip out of any disagreement as quickly as possible; putting away the possibility of conflict, and then another, on the other hand, loves to engage me or anyone else, for that matter, in a good “discussion” as we call it. Conflict pushes one forward, whereas it pushes another away.
As a Christian, how should we face conflict? Of course we should never resort to just plain arguing to make the other person ashamed or unwilling to speak their piece. But, should we be engaging in argument at all; or, if we do, is there a good way to do it in line with God’s Word?
Here’s a story: Years ago, a large statue of Christ was erected high in the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile. Called “Christ of the Andes,” the statue symbolizes a pledge between the two countries that as long as the statue stands, there will be peace between Chile and Argentina. Shortly after the statue was erected, the Chileans began to protest that they had been slighted – the statue had its back turned to Chile. Just when tempers were at their highest in Chile, a Chilean newspaperman saved the day. In an editorial that not only satisfied the people but made them laugh, he simply said, “The people of Argentina need more watching over than the Chileans.” (Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.)
There is nothing wrong with engaging others in ideas that conflict with ours, but God does have instruction for us. His Word tells us that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). There’s nothing wrong with wanting to avoid conflict and avoiding discussions that make you uncomfortable. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good argument to some degree. What makes a difference is what kind of statement we make entering into the argument or withdrawing from it. A quiet response either way is the best way for a Christian to react to conflict. The next time you're drawn into an argument, try arguing in a whisper. It won’t be long before you will find yourself discussing the issues rather than trying to make a point. At the very least, the argument will be shorter when fewer words are exchanged. When you insist on arguing in a soft voice, taking the quiet path, you can turn conflict and a scowl into joy and, perhaps, even laughter. The part of a good argument that always taints it and makes it wrong is wrath. Avoid that and all of your arguments will end with a handshake and a smile.
We pray. Heavenly Father, we’re so surrounded by conflicting ideas and harsh arguments that it sometimes feels the best course is the safest course–avoid arguments all together. Yet, if we never take exception to anything, how can we make sure that the truth is always told? Forgive us Father when we argue in wrath or avoid argument in fear. Guide us to always maintain a spirit of calm and love toward those who disagree with us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<firstname.lastname@example.org> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.