There is a time to speak the truth, primarily, all the time. But we are also to speak the truth in love. When have you veered from speaking the truth in love to arguing over words? Here are a few pointers:
1. When your words become big and your talk becomes academic, and people need a dictionary to follow your train of thought.
2. If you feel like throwing a punch or have thrown a punch.
3. If you begin to think about all the evil things your opponent probably does or you have begun to besmirch his character.
4. If your arguments end with no one gaining any spiritual edification.
5. If you quote theologians more than Scripture.
Just a few pointers, not an exhaustive list. We should have a deep concern for spiritual integrity and to sharpen iron. We should also be aware that there is very little iron out there.
For me, it doesn’t take long to determine what my stake is in an argument. I say what I think is right. I state my case. I listen to the response. If the response is one that seems that it desires more info, I give more. If not, I don’t.
If I need more info I ask a question, and based on how my question is answered I determine whether I will ask more, or if my question is now being used as a bludgeon to smash my face, I dismiss myself.
At the same time, I’m also just tired. Probably at the center of these posts is an emotional tiredness with arguing. Some people thrive with arguing. I do not. It sucks the life out of me, the exact opposite of edification.
My experience has shown me that arguers don’t hang with me very long because I learn to avoid taking the bait, which is no fun apparently. I’m good with this.
I speak the truth as best as I know how while also taking heed to not give what is holy to dogs, while also making sure I am not a dog that others avoid throwing holy things to.
Most arguments delve into anger, when blood rushes to your head, and know for sure that the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. I’ve learned this the hard way and I’m tired.