Today, as I was reviewing Facebook, someone posted this message:
In life, it’s important to know when to stop arguing with people and simply let them be wrong.
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I thought about this with regard to the many times I have seen a discussion devolve into an argument, all because one person wouldn’t stop trying to get the other person to agree. The exchange of ideas was corrupted into an exchange of insults because of one person’s stubborn pridefulness not allowing the other person to have their own view.
For those who profess to be Believers, meaning people who are supposed to be God-fearing, respectful, compassionate, and loving of others to argue about things to the point where their pride takes over is a very poor way to represent God. It doesn’t glorify him, at all! What makes it worse is that the person who refuses to stop arguing will, more often than not, say they are just telling the truth, which they proclaim justifies their rude behavior.
Shaul tells us that righteous anger is fine, and it is, but it is no excuse for being nasty or disrespectful to someone. The same goes for telling the truth; as far as I am concerned, if you are unable to tell someone your understanding of “the truth” without having to yell at or insult them, then not only have you already lost the argument but your truth might not really be the truth.
Now, someone may say that Yeshua insulted the Pharisees and Scribes and Torah-teachers often, and that is true. My answer to that point of fact is this: you ain’t Yeshua! And when he spoke, even those who were against him could not argue with him because his truth was God’s truth and stood on its own. When you or I discuss God with others and they don’t accept what we say, or tell us we are wrong, before we start to insult them we might consider that if what we say isn’t strong enough to stand on its own, maybe what we think is right is actually wrong. Or maybe what we are saying is right but we are saying it in a wrong way.
I learned this lesson many years ago when I received a left-handed compliment from my boss. I was a Sales Manager for Home Depot’s At-Home Services and the Senior Vice President I was working for told me that what I say is almost always correct, but (here comes the down-side) it becomes impotent because of the way I say it. You see, I was just telling the truth, but the way I told it rendered it useless because it made people upset.
God gave each and every one of us Free Will because he wants us to choose to worship him. We also can choose to reject God and all he says. That means God, himself, allows someone to be wrong if they choose to be wrong. So who are we to disallow that which God allows?
Your truth may not be my truth, and (truthfully) both may still be true. What is important is that we don’t tell someone the truth in order to show how correct we are, but to help them come closer to God. It is all about bringing people into proper relationship with God and Messiah, so when someone chooses to reject what you say, go ahead and make an argument without arguing. Allow them a minute or so to take it in, and if they are willing to continue to listen then you are doing well. If they reject what you say, and refuse to accept any proof from you, then before the discussion becomes an argument, do as God does and allow them to be wrong.
One last point: remember how God told the prophets that if they did not tell the people to repent, then their blood would be on his head? But, if after telling them to repent, they decided to reject God’s warnings and continued to sin, then the prophet would be free of their blood and it would be on their own heads? This rule holds true for us, as well. We are to try to bring people into the Kingdom of God but not by force, coercion, fear, or bribery (such as telling them about all the blessings they receive for being Believers.)
As purveyors of God’s truth, your job and mine is simply to tell the truth as God has shown it to us and allow people to make up their own minds.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!