Advancing Our Arguments from Sour to Amiable
I don't know how to argue, when I do attempt to, I tremble, my voice may break up, it appears as though I may cry the next minute. In worst case scenarios, I end up saying harsh words that do not pertain to the issue at hand only for the sake of putting down the other party.
I am not that good at pretending either, if things are not funny I cannot for the life of me mutter a small laughter, I may smile and with the advent of short form writing on social media, you may hear me often times saying lol. So when people say something that I do not agree with, I can hardly stomach it, it's even worse if they are trying to sell the idea to others and not only to me. In those times I cringe, every muscle on my face moves to show my discontent, sometimes am smart enough to keep a poker face. This all makes it hard for me to avoid arguments.
The greek word for argument is zétésis, it means a search, questioning. Looking at this meaning, you may see that arguments are not all together bad, one will question what you say or raise an opposing view, not only for the sake of opposition, but in order to find answers.
The sun shines during the day time, the moon shines at night. No one can argue this, it is not a cause for controversy because it just is. Back in the day men thought the world was flat, now most men would agree that indeed it is round. Before this agreement, even to raise the issue that the world was round and maybe not flat was a cause for controversy. We see then that, when things are clear-cut or straightforward, no one questions or argues about them.
Too many times though, arguments arise because men have varying selfish motives; 'I have a degree or a PhD and have studied so much in that area, that no one can have the final say but me', Or it could be that, 'you hurt me once and that's all I care about, I will not and cannot let you be right.' Or it could be that I look down on you,'where are you from? who do you think you are?' Or it could be that I just have a thing for controversy, 'I am known for not being a conformer, I have to maintain my reputation, I just cannot identify with you, I will not identify with you. Or it could be that no one knows me yet and I have to make my voice heard.'
I believe that all that matters in the end, is the truth of a matter. May we in our conversing speak the truth always and listen to the truth that others have to say. Sometimes we focus not on the truth, but on the manner or method of speaking, of course we should make all effort to present our ideas better. Sometimes we focus on the background or appearance of the person, we choose to focus on their past mistakes. if we could weed out those things and simply listen first, we may have less arguments. We must first actually listen to what others have to say. We must be patient and kind to first of all lend our ears.
If what they say is truth, you learn from it, if what they say is a lie made up or unknown to them, then we could go ahead and question. We must be careful when we raise opposing views that we do so solely for the sake of truth and not for the sake of being right or being perceived as having superior knowledge. And it would do our listeners a great profit if we spoke the truth in love, if we spoke the truth to enlighten others. And not just speaking truth, we must have ready our sources. God forbid we waste the time of others when what we say is mere speculative. And to those who know the truth but never do speak up, I wish that you would not leave others ignorant.
I end with these few words, the Bible tells a story of a man Paul, who wrote a letter to a student of his Timothy and he advised 'Tim' concerning arguments. He said and I quote word for word, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience and a sincere faith"
It may not be that arguments are bad, but the motives from which men raise questions and the manner in which they are raised are the cause of sour arguments. How amazing it would be if all our debates and arguments rested on Paul's short advice to Timothy.
"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience and a sincere faith"