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Archive for February 14th, 2011

Eph 4:15  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  (NIV)

This verse teaches that one of the character traits of a mature Christian is being able to speak the truth in love; Ever hear the expression, ‘Win a battle but lose the war’, or, ‘ Win an argument but lose the person’.

In a dual with swords the only way to win is to kill your opponent, whereas, when we debate the Gospel with an unbeliever, we want to win our opponent not kill them. Let’s look at 6 ways we can do this:

1) We must give full respect to their argument. Sneering, looking down our nose or displaying a superior attitude will drive that person away. Nobody likes to be belittled or spoken down to.

2) Our tone of voice is also important. People immediately sense disrespect, animosity and dislike.

3) We must listen to our opponents viewpoint; Showing them respect by looking them in the face, where possible showing our agreement by a nod of the head or a smile and allowing them to finish their discourse.

4) We must use, ‘wisdom’; Prov 11:30 He/She who wins souls is wise. Using King James language, big sounding theological words or flowery speech will muddy the waters and bring confusion; As much as possible, use non religious language. Instead of saying, “The hand of the Lord was upon Paul”, say ” The presence of God was with Paul”.

Without realising it, some of us have adopted a form of Christianese which is a foreign language to an unbeliever. Therefore we must train our mind to substitute such words with speech they can understand.

5) If we don’t know the answer to a question or topic of debate, say so. Don’t try to cover up or change the subject. People respect someone who humbly acknowledges what they don’t know.

6) Finally, we must look upon them with love. Love can be seen in our body language, our eyes, our words and disposition.

Let’s remember we are there to win the person not the argument. It’s been calculated that most people are spoken to about Jesus Christ by approx 20 people before they come to know him as their Saviour. Most of the time we are a link in that chain so let’s remember to pray for them that what we have said will impact their life and prepare them for their next encounter with God.

Meditation point: Showing love and exercising wisdom will do more to win someone for the Gospel than the greatest theological argument.

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