Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Have you noticed a breakdown in our ability as a society to engage in civil discourse? I have. It seems we prefer to argue with each other rather than engage in a constructive exchange of ideas. The goal for many is to “win” the argument with a snarky comment. This is particularly true on social media.
Jesus certainly did not agree with the views of the Pharisees, but instead of engaging in devise arguments he often told asked questions or made statements to encourage them to search their heart. For example, in John 8 we learn that a woman had been caught in the act of
adultery. The Pharisees brought the women in front of crowd and then confronted Jesus. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
In Mark 3 Jesus heals on the Sabbath at the displeasure of the Pharisees because the Mosaic law prohibited work on the Sabbath. “Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”
One strategy that we can use when confronted by an offensive person is to say “What I heard you say was (fill in the blank). Is that what you intended to say?” This will allow a break in the conversation for both parties to “cool off” and reflect on what they are saying and hearing. Many years ago, I took a speech communications class. One thing I remember most vividly is the art of communication. This means that it is the responsibility of the sender of the message to ensure that the message delivered is the same message that is received. We should be mindful that much of our message is non-verbal and the verbal component is influenced by our tone.
We can disagree with each other without being disagreeable. Isn’t it better to win a friend than win an argument?
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
We welcome your comments below.
Liked this post?
Read more below or search for more topics...
Want to Better Understand Your Identity? “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” (Lamentations 3:40 ESV). I have some friends that are interested in genealogy. They want to better understand themselves by tracing their ancestry back as many generations as possible. This is a fun process and can provide some interesting anecdotes about your family tree. I think it is natural for all of us at some point in our lives to seek to better understand ourselves. I have taken several personality profiles and spiritual gifts assessments. They are interesting, useful, and yield very good information to help...
Finding Peace “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25 NIV).One of my greatest desires is peace. However, it also can be one of the most elusive. I “postpone” peace until some task is completed. The problem is that some tasks can often go on for years, if not for a lifetime. As I hurriedly try to check items off my “to do” list, more items are added. A friend recently told me that I should focus on discerning what it is that God wants me to learn, see, or do while...
The Greatest Threat To The Church Is… “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:5 NIV).I think when most people think about threats to the local church, they think about declining membership and attendance and associated financial issues. Yes, it is true that many small churches have closed or will close in the near future due to insufficient membership and finances. However, in the book The Myth of the Dying Church by Glenn T. Stanton, the author presents a...