BY NEAL POLLARD
“To ensure people listen to you, insult their race, politics, and intelligence. Be sarcastic. Be close-minded. Don’t attempt to hear what they have to say. Do not gently reason and certainly do not be patient and thoughtful. Courtesy should be thrown to the wind, along with assuming the best and thinking before speaking. Inflammatory statements are sure to win the hearts of people on the fence or on the other side of the issue from you. When they disagree or offer a dissenting view, really let them have it. Call them names, make baseless assumptions and accusations, and angrily dismiss them. Persuade them with harsh, rude, coarse, crude words and phrases, and even resort to cursing to strengthen your point.”
I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen anyone give the advice above, but an incredibly large number of people seem to have adopted those very tactics through social media to promote their own points of view and to attack those of others. Beyond the right and wrong of specific issues, there is the attitude and demeanor the Christian is to maintain. The late Wendell Winkler would often tell us “preacher boys” that “you can be right and still be wrong.” How sad to lose the moral high ground of an issue because we yield to the fleshly tendency to rip, tear, and insult “the other side.”
Scripture counsels this approach instead: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other” (Eph. 4:32); “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Tim. 2:24-25a); “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12: 21); “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Col. 4:6); “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).
Oh, sure. People will rationalize their ugly, insulting speech through distorting the words and actions of Jesus, Paul, and others. People often rationalize their sin and disobedience. How many have done the same thing in the face of Scripture commanding baptism and teaching the singular nature of the church? But, make no mistake about it! Venomous, hateful, insulting speech is not the way of the faithful Christian. The source of that is from a distinctly different direction!
Be convicted and courageous, but cloak it in Christ like kindness! In addition to being right, it will be far more successful. May our goal be to win hearts and souls and not just arguments!
Chino Elders Comments:
We live in angry times. Those of us who attempt to live by Biblical Principles are often yelled at, belittled and sometimes threatened. Our motives are misrepresented and vilified. The ever present temptation is to strike back in kind. But friends that is not how Jesus Christ would have us behave. Yes, we can have an interesting debate on when anger is appropriate. Yes, Jesus and such Holy Spirit inspired men as Paul were at times angry. But the overwhelming example and teaching of Jesus, Peter, and Paul is one of gentleness toward all humanity, including those who attack us first.
We are here to live well and do good, to be bold and zealous, to search for and follow the truth, to be kind and love, and to draw near to God in our everyday lives.
IT IS EASIER TO HAVE A MEAN-SPIRITED ARGUMENT ABOUT PRINCIPLES
THAN TO LIVE THEM.
WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
BY NEAL POLLARD