I Love to Argue!

Dear God: I love to argue! Please help me to start remembering that I don’t need to set the entire world straight! It’s invigorating to debate . . . and I do it so well. Somehow I inherited (or developed on my own) a spicy and slicy tongue – and I surely do enjoy using it. But I know that it’s wrong, and also counterproductive.

Yesterday at Costco, while poring over the book section, a political junkie – I’m one too – began holding court, telling me why her army was brilliant and that the other side was a sorry collection of fools. I was ready to argue! And it was so tempting to dish some stats and pithy quotes at her, to taste the satisfaction of shutting her up. But then I realized that, like me, she’s a fragile and partially informed human, sincerely well-meaning in her love of country. So I finally said: “Well, ma’am, I have to confess that I don’t see that issue quite like you do. But I love chatting with you – and you have a really nice day.” (That’s just one tiny victory, though, in a long and heated row of setbacks.)

I haven’t always walked away. Sometimes I argue, say my piece, and unload what I believe needs to be said. I’m not proud of that. But I’m a work in progress. Right! If only only people could see that.

So please give me a sense of proportion so that I choose the high road—then I’ll only do battle when things really count, or when your honor is at stake. I want to have the same quiet calm Jesus had when he went on the Crossfire of his day, and never said a mumblin’ word. I can’t argue with that.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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David B. Smith writes from Southern California.

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