It is so easy to want to rush in to an argument, indeed to start an argument. With blogs, social media, and our self-righteous need to “be honest” or “keep it real,” I have seen people who once were friends and respected each other curse and denounce each other as un-American, un-Christian, and the like. And with today’s social-political climate, it is an easy temptation to take one’s eyes off the kingdom of Heaven to join the fight for a kingdom of earth. I started to do that this morning. But, as I really don’t have time to get my details straight. I will leave it alone for perhaps this afternoon. I have tried such discussions before and only got humiliated by those who were better prepared and discouraged by those who yelled much louder.
While the loud and wrong must be firmly withstood (Lord please give me strength in this area), being too quick to try to make one’s case is never a good idea. It helps to know what you are talking about and have facts (or at least well used propaganda) to help make your case. In almost every argument I have heard about politics, religion, sports, and almost anything else; they have often been based on statements that were not well substantiated. We take soundbites and run with them. Thus, we find ourselves running into walls of opposition where there could be stair cases of cooperation.
In explaining non-violent demonstrations to his detractors (Letter From A Birmingham Jail), Martin Luther King stated that before any protest took place, there had to be much prayer, a gathering of the facts, and an effort to negotiate with the local structure. Coretta Scott King mentioned (Eyes On The Prize video documentary) that before the actual bus boycott in Montgomery, the black leadership had suggested to the segregationist officials a kinder form of the “back of the bus” rule. Of course, such ideas were not compatible with the truth that God made us all equal. But by having such humble efforts bluntly rejected by the opposition, full truth had to be pursued in earnest. With prayer, facts, and a heart willing to negotiate; the Birmingham and other campaigns overcame their adversaries.
There will always be things that we find repulsive no matter what our persuasions may be. The question is how do we approach that which we oppose. Do we give an immediate riposte (which may be necessary at times)? Or do we make a prayerful, thoughtful, and humble effort to seek a solution even if it means we are willing to short change ourselves for a time believing things will improve later? We should stand up for what is right. But, we should also make sure our shoes are on the right feet with laces tied. And a little polish helps too.