3 Tips for More Gracious Conversations
By Logan Judy
In a recent study by Barna, a plurality of nonbelievers reported negative feelings after encountering a Christian sharing their faith. It’s not hard for us to see why. We’re in a stage of public discourse that feeds on anger and outrage more than respect and dialogue. So how can Christians interject into this space with a spirit of peace and compassion? Here are three tips to help your conversations keep a gracious and respectful tone.
Proactively remove yourself from an echo chamber
It is very frustrating to watch the abundance of straw man fallacies and ungracious characterizations between debaters. This is partially a heart problem. As humans, we always have and always will struggle with pride. But we also have a tendency to surround ourselves with people we agree with. The farther we are removed from a diversity of opinions, the more likely we are to misunderstand them, and misrepresent them. This is one of many reasons why it is worthwhile to nurture relationships with people you disagree with. Not only does relationship give you more opportunities to bring others to Christ, but it will help you think more carefully about your own views.
But didn’t Paul tell us not to be unequally yoked to nonbelievers?
Paul does say not to be unequally yoked to nonbelievers in 2 Corinthians, but in 1 Corinthians he says, in reference to withdrawing from Christians in the context of church discipline, “not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.” All relationship is not unequally yoking – your closest relationships (such as close mentors and your spouse) should share your faith, but that is not the same as cutting off all nonbelievers…
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