Arguing Can Be Good For You!

“When Peter came to Antioch, I (Paul) had to oppose him to his face.” Galatians 2:11

Our recent election provided numerous opportunities for arguing. Many of these centered around the candidates themselves, while others took place at a philosophical level. Either way, arguing over politics can be a bitter experience, which is why many choose to avoid the subject.

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Peter and Paul, Icon of Antioch

The church can be a good place to argue. Christian couples will argue with one another. Ministry teams can argue amongst themselves. Personalities will clash. Peter and Paul argued (Galatians 2:11-13), Paul and Barnabas argued (Acts 15:36-41).

How can we argue in a way that honors Jesus?

On the TV series The Amazing Race, couples race against other couples to reach a certain destination. Sometimes couples lose ground, argue with each other and lose the race.

When we look at our Christian lives like a race (Hebrews 12:1), we realize that we are here to seek God’s kingdom. Arguing with each other can distract us from God’s mission, which is to make disciples. So when you argue at home, church or anywhere else, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I treating the other as a fellow heir of God’s grace, or as an opponent? (1 Peter 3:7)
  • Am I speaking with humility, or with pride? (Titus 3:2)
  • Am I building others up, or tearing them down? (Romans 14:19)
  • Is my goal to win the argument, or become more like Jesus? (Hebrews 12:1)

Arguments will arise in the healthiest of relationships, and they can be a source of growth. How we argue can be a powerful witness for Christ.

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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3 Responses to Arguing Can Be Good For You!

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. Sharon Worthington says:

    The word argue has real negative conotation I prefer to say we disagree or have a difference in opinion or belief healthy discussion not arguing can be good Brings enlightenment on both sides of an issue. I don’t argue with anyone! I will however voice my opinion on things I feel strongly about.

  3. bruceifc says:

    Thanks for the practical questions to ask ourselves when faced with conflict. It’s so easy to lose ourselves and allow our personal gain to take over in an argument.

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