Have you ever seen someone’s online bio read:
My opinions are my own.
It’s a way of offering a disclaimer that their personal opinions shouldn’t be connected unfairly to their place of employment.
My online bio reads:
My opinions are my own, but they should be yours as well.
Now, I obviously meant that as a joke, but there are times when that feels too true for my own good.
Hold on My Heart
When I get into an argument about something—especially politics—it’s hard for me to let it go. I will argue for hours, long after my opponent has surrendered from fatigue and a comparatively low level of interest.
But I can’t. I can’t get go.
Or, at least, that’s how I’ve always seen it.
Now, I’m realizing that it’s the other way around. It’s not that I can’t let go of the argument. The problem is that the argument won’t let get of me.
The argument gets a hold of my heart, and it chokes the life and the love of Jesus out of me.
It’s like an addiction, and it’s doubly dangerous because not only does something other than God have a tight grip on my heart but it also puts me at risk of pushing other away from Jesus.
Proving Our Opinions, Disproving Our Savior
Pastor spoke to us this past Sunday about this issue. In his sermon, he point out how many Christians get into arguments with those outside the church and, instead of expressing the truth of God’s Word through the love of Jesus, they throw “truth bombs.” Truth bombs are absolute statements that are communicated with all the delicacy of a grenade. They don’t convince those whom we argue with, and instead, they often cause those individuals to hold their own opinions even more tightly.
Essentially, it’s like we’re so focussed on proving our opinions, so obsessed with winning the argument, that we’re willing to disprove the love and mercy of our Savior. If we’re not careful, when we engage in heated arguments with those outside the church, we may very well end up winning an argument at the cost of our opponent’s soul.
Think about it like this: if someone has been arguing with you, vehemently, about an issue that’s near and dear to you, and they manage to convince you that your views aren’t nearly as secure as you’d thought, how would you feel about them? Would you rush to shake their hand, asking them to tell you more about their worldview as you’ve realized that your worldview falls far short of reality? I doubt it. I imagine that you would resist ever admitting you were wrong and would instead hold even more firmly to your debunked position.
So, if arguing with someone won’t get them to change their mind—let alone their hearts!—what do we do?
Our best method for dealing people we don’t agree with is to focus less on the argument and focus more on them as a person for whom Jesus died. He doesn’t want to convince them that their opinions are wrong; He wants to convince them of His love and power. In their heart of hearts, many people know that they’re missing something. During moments of crisis, this gap is often exposed. Who is going to be allowed to speak into their lives when these moments pop up? Is it going to be their friend who is always shouting at them, whether in person or on social media, or will it be the friend who’s loved them, even though they disagree?
Did Jesus ever validate or excuse the sinful lifestyles of any of outsiders who approached Him? Never. Did those who approached Him find love and mercy, mixed with a true assessment of their spiritual condition? Always.
May the same be said of us!