Have you ever found yourself arguing with someone who isn’t a Christian and wondering what in the world you are doing wrong, because this person just doesn’t seem to get it? There is a verse from Romans 14 that states we should not argue about right and wrong “with those who are weak in the faith.”
This verse, verse one, is talking about baby Christians versus mature Christians. But I have found that it is also true when it comes to non-Christians. Despite what seems so obviously right or wrong to us, non-Christians and even BC’s (Baby Christians) might not know of our values or might not understand them. We all know that living in the world versus living for eternity presents differences of opinion, moral value, and belief systems. It is almost impossible to reconcile those differences between Christians and non-Christians or BCs.
I looked at it another way. What if you consider yourself to be a mature Christian and I to be a BC? What to do then when you are in the midst of an argument and there is an obvious disconnect between two Christians? On top of that, Christians who are mature in some ways might have a blind spot or two.
Does this mean that we just give up trying to get our point across, or expressing our opinion, or confronting a fellow Christian when they are sinning? No! It just means you have to think before you do it.
If you are in the midst of an argument and realize that you are on separate pages, just stop! What you say will likely not change the other person’s mind, and it will probably just escalate a situation. Just admit to the other person that you know you don’t see eye-to-eye, but that you have heard each other out and you would like to just end on an encouraging note.
If the person is a non-Christian, and you realize that the argument is going nowhere, end similarly. If the person is a non-Christian and you just feel you must say something, do so with tact and kindness, and not in an aggressive manner.
But if you are discussing a point, or points, here are some tips to keep it from becoming an argument, taken from Pastor Rick Warren on pastor.com:
- LISTEN! Let the other person finish before interrupting with a point of your own. If you don’t fully hear out the other person, you could be interrupting for nothing. They might me saying something totally different from what you expect.
- Stay calm. You’re just talking! “Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” If you’re patient, you’re wise. As a pastor, you need to be patient with people who are less mature and those who misjudge. You need to keep calm,” Warren wrote.
- “[T]he real meaning of people is down inside of them. A man of understanding will be able to draw others out with questions. How do you do that? Ask clarifying questions, such as: Who? What? When? How? Questions like that will draw out those you are listening to and let them know you have their attention.”
- Mirror back what was said to each other to make sure there are no discrepancies or misunderstandings. For example: the other person might say they believe in something you view as sin, and you need to hear their “why” so you can say it back to make sure you understand each other. You would be monumentally surprised how often what you actually heard the first (or fifth) time is truly not what the other person said! Keep saying it over and over in different ways to make sure your point came across the way you intended. A lot of inflammatory problems can be fixed this way. It does take time and patience, but remember that when it comes to opinions and beliefs, we all hold tightly to these. So tightly that it is easy to get offended when someone disagrees with us. By using the mirror technique, you are able to have a tough conversation or exchange in an appropriate manner.