People in our culture seem to love arguing. Yet it seems that the breed of argument which is popular today isn’t about learning something new or finding consensus. Rather today’s argument seems to be only about being right. When I say people like to argue, perhaps I should actually say that people like to win arguments so they can look good and feel better about themselves. So what happens when they face a real disagreement? That seems to be where the anger and name calling arises.
It seems the mentality is, “if I can’t win this argument outright I will simply attack you personally until you back down.” Arguments by nature are supposed to be about coming to a better understanding rather than about going to war. In today’s world they are most often about the latter sadly. What does that mean for Christians? It means we are more likely to be insulted and belittled when we state our opinion.
The temptation is to give insults right back at people who give them to us. But is that the way of Christ? The easy answer is of course not. Christ humbled himself to the point of death for those who attacked him (Philippians 2). He did this in obedience to the Father, for the glory of the Father rather than for his own glory. Should we not strive for the same heart and mind? We say we are his disciples. We call ourselves Christian. Certainly we should be about the business of Christ and not about our own agenda or our own reputation in the world.
We should rather be offended for the sake of Christ than to fall into the patterns of this world. Name calling, belittling, insulting… none of those are able to bring a single thread of glory to God and if it doesn’t glorify God, we should want none of it.
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3 that we must always be ready to give a defense for the hope that we have in Christ, and always with gentleness and respect. If we say or write something that lacks gentleness and respect, we fail to bring honor and glory to God. We may be building some sort of reputation for ourselves, but we aren’t working for God.
At the end of it all, if we aren’t about the glory of God, what are we doing calling ourselves Christian?