How to Win a Disagreement
I want to continue with another thought from this great chapter in the Bible, 2 Timothy 2. Perhaps you are someone who always likes to have the last word. Perhaps you like to win the argument or make sure you prevail in a disagreement or difference of opinion. There’s nothing wrong with that…well, if you always have to have the last word that would be annoying to your friends and family, but here is some very good advice from Paul to Timothy. For several years I had this paragraph printed and taped to the wall right in front of my desk to remind me of its truth. Here is the paragraph: 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
The first thing here is that a servant of the Lord must not quarrel. There is no value in constantly being argumentative or in attempting to always prove your point, especially when you know the other person feels differently. This kind of thing has gone to an entirely new level on Facebook and social media. This doesn’t negate the need to attempt to correct someone that you think is wrong. But Paul says to do that with humility. There are two sides to this. First, humility is essential because it might be that you find out that you, not him/her are the one who is wrong. If you argue out of pride, you most likely will not be able to see that, even when it becomes painfully obvious. Humility keeps us in a position to learn new information which can change our opinions. Second, we are not the ones who are supposed to change someone else’s mind. That job is for God to do. God is the One who has to grant them repentance. Note that their error has its root in the activity of Satan. You and I are no match for Satan in a fight; but God is. Humility, gentleness, and a recognition of the need for God’s activity are very useful attitudes when we find ourselves in disagreements. If you want to “win”, I think this is the best way to do it.