Have you ever noticed that just about everyone has an opinion, and they are willing to stick up for that opinion? Whether it’s politics, music, or food, we often find ourselves disagreeing with other people around us. I was reminded of this recently as I was reading through the book of Proverbs, aka the book of Wisdom. The Bible gives us what appears to be back to back contradictions. “Answer not a fool according to his folly,lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly,lest he be wise in his own conceit.” (Proverbs 26:4-5)
The first verse says “answer not”, and the next verse says to “answer.” Might seem a little confusing until we look a little deeper. The Bible is really reminding us that we need wisdom to know the proper response. Our goal in confronting others is to help them, and draw them to the Lord. It might be the best thing to be quiet, and other times it might be the wisest thing to speak up.
Here are some Biblical reminders when it comes to dealing with people who have a different perspective then you do.
- Pray and Ask the Lord for Wisdom
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:5-6)
- Be Ready to Listen
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Proverbs 1:5)
Listening doesn’t mean that you have to embrace their false ideas, but it does mean that you take them time to hear and understand where they are coming from. With that part out of the way, you can focus on guiding them back to the truth of God’s Word.
- Have a Biblical basis for your opinion
“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4)
When it comes to favorite foods, their might not be an exact Biblical basis for that, but when it comes to important issues such as creation vs. evolution, pro-life issues, marriage, government and civic responsibilities, the Bible provides us a great foundation to build our belief and opinions.
- Be prepared to admit if you are wrong
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaish 57:15)
I know it hurts to admit it, but we aren’t always right! If you realize that the side you’re arguing for doesn’t honor God and doesn’t align with His Word, do everyone a favor and humbly admit that you were wrong.
- Have a heart of love, and lips seasoned with grace
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:5-6)
To sum it up, I always try to remember that the ultimate purpose of winning a conversation is to see people saved, and to see saved people living according to God’s Word. I hope that you’ll take these verses and put them into practice next time you find yourself in an argument.