The feeling is so familiar, yet it hits me every time like a slap in the face. I feel the adrenaline rush and the sound of my racing heart as my blood starts to course through my veins. I’m not describing a panic attack or a stress meltdown; I’m talking about that moment when someone questions your faith. Maybe they’re not actually questioning the existence of God but maybe they’re trying to argue about why you don’t have instruments in your service, or why you partake of communion every Sunday. Ladies, these are difficult questions that we are called to be able to give an answer to! “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Have you ever been called out in a class, by a classmate or even a teacher? I’ve had that unfortunate experience and either way we must respond the same. It’s hard to respond well in the heat of the moment. It’s hard when you have a verse in your head that you just want to toss it out and say, “Look! It’s so easy!” Just remember girls, that others feel that way too. You can get twisted and frustrated so much that you can’t think straight, but you are called to a higher standard, you’re called to act like Jesus-even in the heat of debate. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
This has been something relevant in my life lately and I just want to share a few tips of how to handle yourself and things to remember in the middle of a debate or an argument:
- Your goal is not to present a “zinger” point. It can be self-satisfying to present a verse and hang back in our holier than thou glory as others try to find an answer. Ladies, our goal is (or should be) to save souls, not win arguments. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).
- Don’t just start talking. Sometimes we have a tendency to immediately start talking when someone presents us with something we feel is unscriptural. Fight that urge! Close your mouth, really listen to the other person, and take time to consider what you’re going to say next. Heed the advice of Paul to “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).
- If you have the truth on your side, there’s nothing to fear. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). If your position truly is scriptural, there is always an answer to be found. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “Hey I’m not sure I have an answer for that right now, let me study it and get back with you.” You might have to do a bit of personal study or even have to ask for help. Either way, there is always an answer.
I hope this gives you some advice on how to carry yourself in a debate or even just a conversation with a friend. Your conduct is crucial in the conversion process. However, don’t let fear of messing up deter you from discussing Christ with your friends. The fields are white unto harvest, sometimes all we need to do is lift up our eyes. “Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).