LET's HAVE A GOOD ARGUMENT


0-) Webster's Definition: a.) (Archaic): Proof, evidence. b.) A reason or reasons offered in proof. Reasoning. c.) Discourse designed to convince or persuade. d.) Argumentation, discussion, disputation. e.) Matter of dispute. f.) In Math: one of the independent variables upon whose value that of a function begins.

CONSIDER - Proverbs 1:5, 2:1-11, 3:1-4, 5-8.


1-) For our purposes: Three Levels of Arguing: (Which can reflect 3 levels of maturity)

a.) Level 1 - Reasoning for the purpose of understanding and even problem-solving. Reasoning implies that it will be logical, factual, honest, and considerate.


b.) Level 2 - Expressing a worthy principal, feeling, opinion, concern or frustration, for the purpose of giving understanding, or at least for the purpose of venting, without necessarily seeking a resolution at that time.


c.) Level 3 - Contention for the purpose of forcing your own will or belief, through force, manipulation, or other means, including the option of tearing down another.
(The latter is biblical only in the sense of contending for the faith. Apart from that, it is said that contention comes from pride (Prov 13:10), leads to more trouble (Prov 17:14), is a practice of fools (Prov 18:6), drives others crazy (Prov 27:15), is hard to live with (Prov 21:19) and is to be avoided (Titus 3:9, 1 Cor 11:16).


2-) Should Christians argue?
a.) Prov 27:17 - As IRON sharpens IRON, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
b.) Prov 27:6 - Faithful are the WOUNDS of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Many good biblical examples: Paul argued with Peter, and the result was purification of doctrine. (Gal 2:11)
c.) Prov 16:21 - The sweetness of lips increases learning. (ie, say it nicely).

3-) THEME VERSE - "Let No Corrupt Communication Proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers." Eph 4:29
LET - Your choice. "I have set a guard at my lips." (Psalms)
NO - None. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
CORRUPT - a.) Perverse, unwholesome, gross, degrading. b.) Un-true, insincere, manipulative.
c.) Destructive, imprisoning.
COMMUNICATION - It's a privilege. Even in the USA: It's a freedom that was bought.
YOUR MOUTH - You are accountable. You'll be judged. You'll take the consequences.
GOOD - The common good, according to God's will, not just yours. Strength required.
EDIFYING - Building up. Making the world or person better. Husband-to-wife: see Eph 5:25-29: nurture your wife. Wife-to-husband: 1 Pet 3:1-6 Respect your husband.
MINISTER - Serve. Give. God-given ministry.
GRACE - a.) Unmerited favor b.) Strength c.) Spirit-centered (vs. legalistic).


4.) CAUSES OF "ARGUMENTS"
a.) Differing Beliefs.
b.) Differing Values. (Beliefs + Experience + Choice = Priorities)
c.) Differing Goals.
d.) Unreasonable expectations. (Not everybody's on your page. In fact, hardly anybody!)
d.) Differing Style. (Male/Female, Personality, etc.) (Discuss Love&Respect, + its 3 cycles.)
e.) The fallen planet


4.) CAUSES OF ARGUMENTS (Cont.)
a.) Differing CORE Beliefs -
Eg - Liberals vs. Conservatives, and the biases of each towards recent presidents.
"All Republicans are crooked, racist, rich people." "All Liberals are Satan's tools, with a perverse hidden agenda." This prevents us from being objective on a person-by-person or case-by-case basis. "How can two walk together unless they agree?"
Why did God write 1 Cor 6:14 - "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers."
In a "Yoke", you walk side-by-side, day by day.

CHRISTIANS who regularly read their bibles KNOW this: (PROV 1:7) Unbelievers who follow conventional thinking KNOW this:.......

1.) I have value to God

2.) I am accountable to God
3.) I am forgiven
4.) I have a purpose
5.) Others have equal rights
6.) I have a source of guidance (bible&HS)
7.) I have hope in trials
8.) All will be well

1.) I am ultimately on my own.
2.) I'm "FREE!"
3.) Past events still have control.
4.) I'm a survivor mechanism
5.) Be a winner - not a loser
6.) Truth is relative
7.) In trials: It's cheat or die
8.) Get what I can NOW




b.) Differing Values (Beliefs + Training = Values, or Priorities) (Measured by Time & Money.)
Where do you value: God / Spouse / Children / Job / Self etc.

c.) Differing Goals - Be sure that goals are shared openly, and agreed upon. (Esp. b4 marriage.)

d.) Differing Styles - (Love 'em for their differences!)
a.) Male/Female b.) Personality type c.) Acquired behaviors.

e.) The Fallen World - This ensures that there WILL be arguments. Trials will come up. People are imperfect. The CURE for the fallen world won't be implemented for at least another 1007 years. But if I address life's issues with the right beliefs and values, respecting another's goals, and accepting another person's style, then I can engage the person in adult argument, and we can both be the better for it.



5.) THE ART OF LISTENING
("Let every man be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath." James 1:19)
Did you listen well enough to
a.) Hear THEM? (Their words and their heart.)
b.) Remember what they said? (Can you repeat it back?)
c.) Without interruption or body-language distraction? (Discuss.)

6.) THE ART of SPEAKING
("A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Prov 25:11) (a work of art!)
Did you speak to them:
a.) Clearly, without distraction?
b.) With appropriate (but not intimidating) emotion?
c.) In FEW words, so they can remember what you said?
Four stereotypes of mis-communication:
The Airport PA / The Play-By-Play / The Bleeding Heart / Command Central

7.) THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS OF DIALOG:

I.) Use more "I" statements, than "You" statements.
The former can be controlled to be true, the latter come across as judgmental and prosecuting.
(Especially when "You" is followed by the word "always".)
II.) No name-calling or labeling.
III.) Respond within point. (Stay focused; don't jump track.)
IV.) Don't brainstorm into absurdity. Or into inordinate uncontrollable scenarios.
V.) Speak the truth. Never lie.
VI.) No foul language.
VII.) Don't nit-pick. Stay within the spirit of the discussion.
VIII.) Don't throw the past in people's face. If it's relevant, use it carefully.
IX.) Use illustrations (Theoretical or past experience) but be careful and sensible
X.) Conclude with a plan. (Sometimes the plan is "wait and see" or "talk later.")
XI.) Don't start a new fight over who gets the last word.
XII.) Conclude with mutual love & respect. (Grace and forgiveness could be required.)


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