We are living in critical times with massively important topics being spoken about all the time- in government halls, across kitchen tables, across computer screens, and from behind the pulpit.
Recent decisions in New York, for instance, demand our attention and our bold stance for life. Topics like abortion, racism, immigration can spark passionate nerves in anyone. However, I think we as Christians at times abandon our calling to love for the more immediate prize of trying to win an argument.
If you are armed with the truth, there is a right and wrong way to present that truth. As Christians we are called to be re-presentations of Jesus, to love His people. The following are a few things to avoid in political conversation if we want to achieve that goal…
- Beginning with the wrong motivation
Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us that there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” The dangling carrot of social media has given us more opportunity than ever before to engage in all types of discussion from behind a screen. When a friend or stranger starts speaking boldly about a topic we are passionate about, our insides light up and the desire to counter anything we see as wrong comes right to the surface.
The opportunities are endless. There IS a time to be silent, however. How will you know? Check your motivation.
If your motive for engaging in a discussion or debate is to win, to make someone feel small or condemned for their “wrong” belief, to have the upper hand- you should not engage in that conversation. Period.
Wrong motivation will always spoil the fruit of any endeavor.
If you feel like you really are supposed to speak up, wait until you have prayed for discernment and the loving words to say, that the person you are speaking with will walk away having heard from the Holy Spirit- not from your arsenal of knowledge and facts. Speaking in love doesn’t weaken the conversation. It empowers it.
2. Judging Rather Than Loving
Every now and then I can get caught up in reading conversation threads on social media about a certain topic of interest, and it makes my skin crawl when I see people who have declared themselves as Christian lashing out in slanderous judgment against others.
God may very well have something to say through you that could plant a seed of convicting truth in the heart of someone else. That seed will immediately rot, however, if you begin name calling or using condemning language. Remember, it’s the goodness of God that brings us to repentance. You weren’t won to Christ by being beaten over the head with how wrong you were in your sin. You were loved into His arms. Do the same in your conversations with others.
3. Not Doing Your Research.
Our defense of the truth will always be overshadowed with disdain if we attempt to argue mistruths as gospel. When it comes to political discussions, make sure you know your facts before engaging in a deep-end conversation. The truth of Jesus will be undeniable when you guard your tongue against false truths or accusations.
4. Thinking You Can Change Someone’s Mind
At the end of the day, no matter how brilliant our stance or poignant our truth, we can never change anyone’s mind. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that that can be done. He is the only one with the power to change someone from the inside out. He will use us, however, to plant seeds of love and truth. Let us not spoil those seeds with selfish ambition, slander, or ignorance.
I challenge you today to think about how you have approached these types of conversations in the past. Have you been guilty of any of the above things? How can you change your rhetoric to better present Jesus in all you do?