Are you good at arguing? Do you typically win or lose? Are you quick on your feet or slow to respond? Do you wrap people in a pretzel or get wrapped in a pretzel? How often do you win or lose an argument?
It’s no secret that everyone gets into arguments. Married couples, siblings, friends, co-workers, the list goes on. Everyone handles arguments in different ways. Some yell, some get quiet, some are aggressive, some are defensive, some debate, some avoid.
Everyone uses an approach or style they think works. But is it really working? I suppose the answer lies in how you define “winning”…
Let me suggest that what we define as winning an argument may actually be a losing strategy and we don’t realize it. The Bible deals with the topic head on and gives us some important insights into God’s winning strategy for every argument.
1. Listen More Than You Talk
James 1:19 -20 – … Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
God’s word highlights that being a good listener is more important than being a good talker. Why? Because if you are listening you are learning and then it is possible to ultimately discern the “real” issue being debated. This is a critical winning strategy!
Often, what you think are the issues aren’t really the issues at all. Arguments can be triggered by past hurts, anger, and insecurities that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Other times an argument can be a simple misunderstanding with no historical backdrop. But the only way to know the difference is to listen, listen, and continue listening! Remember, if you are talking, you aren’t listening and the more you practice listening the more you prevent random, emotionally charged or hurtful encounters.
2. Speak in a Loving, Caring Way
Proverbs 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
This is the “how” part of arguing and making sure you speak in a way that can be heard, rather than venting or making yourself feel better. An argument can accelerate at a rapid rate when people feel disrespected, unloved, or hurt by “how” you are talking. God wants us to be respectful, calm, and patient with others even during an argument. The way you speak will either bring about pain or peace. It’s a choice! It requires emotional discipline and dependence on the Lord, but the more you practice, the more others will be able to hear what you have to say.
3. Willingly Admit Where You Are Wrong
Matthew 7:4-5 – How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
The old adage that “it takes two to tango” is pretty spot-on during any argument. When we argue it is because there is some level of guilt on both sides. This doesn’t mean both parties have an equal amount of guilt, but it does mean there is some level of shared responsibility.
God’s winning strategy requires that you humbly recognize and acknowledge your own areas of guilt first before being quick to point out the faults of others. This will keep your pride in check! You will find that when you are quick to own your own stuff first, others will be more inclined to do the same. This is where you will experience God’s true healing and restoration.
That’s it! God’s 3-step process to winning every argument. Are you surprised?
Warning: This is a counter-cultural model and will take practice. But the more you trust God and step into His winning strategy, the more you will truly win every argument.
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