August 2, 2010

Argue Well

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- August 2, 2010

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

Mature followers of Jesus learn to argue well. But, have you ever been frustrated in trying to communicate with someone you care deeply about? Yes, we all have. It’s not uncommon to have conflict reflected in caring communication. So how can we learn to argue well? One way is to use language laced with grace and seasoned with sensitivity.

Like selective seasonings over a tasty meal, we want our words to be attractive and appetizing. To argue well requires unfiltered debate, but not unfiltered attitudes. It’s a patient and respectful attitude that solicits the best response. So for example, when a friend, co-worker, child or spouse speaks with concern we listen with understanding. The goal is win the relationship, and not to out debate the other in a defensive exchange.

Persuasive speech without prayerful preparation becomes manipulation. Thus spirited discussions required a Spirit-filled engagement, not carnal combativeness. One of Job’s friends ask a rhetorical question about a wise man’s words, “Would he argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value” (Job 15:2)? No, wisdom measures words well.

Arguments are inevitable if couples care for each another. The goal is not to avoid arguments, but to learn how to argue well. If you circumvent hard conversations it will come back to hurt you more in passive aggressive behaviors. If however, we first talk together to the Lord and then to each other, we converse with hearts aligned by the Almighty. Prayerful preparation injects grace into the flow of discussion. Like lubricant over metal gears, it keeps them running smoothly, instead of grinding them to a halt.

“He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend” (Proverbs 22:11).

Therefore, learn to argue well by listening well and comprehending the heart of the one communicating with you. Pray as they talk—for you to be patient and attentive to their needs and wants. Once they know you know what they mean, then share your concerns with love and affirmation. Be direct, as the Holy Spirit directs you. Those who argue well grow in respect, love, trust and understanding of each other. Everyone wins with these Christ-honoring outcomes. By faith—be vulnerable and initiate authentic conversation.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

How can I become a listener who responds with grace and understanding?

Related Readings: Isaiah 43:26; Proverbs 25:9; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Peter 3:10

Boyd Bailey is the author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional and two devotional books, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God

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