Thanks for posting my question.
I thought of bringing this up as a discussion topic after reading this morning’s Our Daily Bread (from February 16). It was a good reminder, and somewhat convicting, as well. Its easy to get emotional when discussing topics we are all so passionate about, like faith and science, and sometimes hard to remember to take a minute to phrase our responses compassionately. Would love to hear any pointers any of you might have to help remember to stay in the right frame of mind in the midst of such discussions.
Here’s the text from today’s Our Daily Bread:
Divided in Love
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” - Ephesians 4:2
When public debate erupted over a controversial Singapore law, it divided believers with differing views. Some called others “narrow-minded” or accused them of compromising their faith.
Controversies can cause sharp divisions among God’s family, bringing much hurt and discouraging people. I’ve been made to feel small over personal convictions on how I apply the Bible’s teachings to my life. And I’m sure I’ve been equally guilty of criticizing others I disagree with.
I wonder if the problem lies not in what or even in how we express our views, but in the attitudes of our hearts when we do so. Are we just disagreeing with views or seeking to tear down the people behind them?
Yet there are times when we need to address false teaching or explain our stand. Ephesians 4:2–6 reminds us to do so with humility, gentleness, patience, and love. And, above all else, to make every effort “to keep the unity of the Spirit” (v. 3).
Some controversies will remain unresolved. God’s Word, however, reminds us that our goal should always be to build up people’s faith, not tear them down (v. 29). Are we putting others down to win an argument? Or are we allowing God to help us understand His truths in His time and His way, remembering that we share one faith in one Lord? (vv. 4–6).
There’s lots of good stuff in Ephesians 4. Here are verses 4:29-32 (NIV translation):
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.