Tone.

I believe that the temptation sometimes is to think that if we can somehow express our convictions strongly enough, the other guy will go “aha!  He REALLY believes that, it must be true!”  This, of course, is not the case.  While I hold many truths near and dear, those that I am engaging believe just as strongly that they are right.  So, how DO we talk to them? 

I think we must be thinking what our goals are in dialoging/discussing/debating.  If it is in the hope that the other person will have their eyes opened to our position, than yelling at them won’t help.  If it is to help them see the folly of their own position, than yelling at them still won’t help.  If it is to shut them down, and discourage them from talking to you – then by all means, yell away.  But, I am not sure this attitude pleases the Lord.

I think that the New Testament did handle differently those who were wilfully misleading others away from the truth (false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing) and those who were simply misguided, and in need of some correction.  But, how do we discern who is who?  So, you do not need to fellowship at the dinner table with the wolf – but that does not allow us to be any less loving towards them.  Our goal, in all of our discussions, is that God will be glorified, and that we will be gracious and loving.  If the wolf is your enemy, then treat him as such: 
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same… But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:32-36

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rey
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 09:32:15

    It’s a tough question.

    Reply

  2. Steve
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 11:59:43

    “Speak the truth in love”

    In all things, love. The bigger question is, “What does love look like for me in this situation?”

    We can never convince, convict, etc. God does all that. When we truly understand that is God’s part (and promise), it frees us up to just be ourselves in Jesus!

    Our commitment is to just speak the truth, and those who listen we go further with. Those who aren’t interested, at some point we are free to move on and trust God will lead others to that person/place.

    Reply

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