How to Have a Grace Based Argument

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How to Have a Grace Based Argument

Q: This grace-based, grace-filled relationships concept sounds good and well if you are gentle-tempered (like you, Tim), but how do you have a good argument in the grace-based model if you are prone to discuss your point or position in a fairly loud manner i.e. yelling and raising your voice? A: There is nothing in my family of origin or personality style that lends itself to your description of me as “gentle-tempered.” Please be assured that I’m as capable as the next person to add volume to conflict, but I choose not to in most cases. However, I realize that there are many who default to volume very quickly in an argument. So my answer to your question would go like this: First, there are three legitimate reason for yelling at someone: — to get their attention when they’re out of the range of your normal speaking voice, — to cheer them on at some event they’re involved in, — to warn them of imminent danger. Those are the only three uses of volume that I know of that have positive impact on the person receiving it. Second, yelling at someone is a form of high-control … a very effective one, I might add. I discussed this form in my book “The High Cost of High Control.” For the record, God did not design us to respond well to high control. Yelling at someone when arguing almost always means you’re arguing from the platform of your emotions. Although emotions play a vital role in our lives, they are very undependable when it’s time to make clear and balanced decisions (like in resolving conflict). That’s because emotions don’t have the capacity to “think;” they only know how to “feel.” And as such they don’t have to feel accurately. They’re free agents that typically operate in tandem with either our insecurities or our selfishness. That’s why they tend to be toxic when we grant them the high ground in an argument. When emotions are turning up the volume in an argument, they lend themselves to arrogance, condescension, and name calling. It’s hard to feel you’re being valued when you’re being yelled at like that. Lastly, although Jesus had to get tough with the money changers, the obnoxious Pharisees, and occasionally with the goofy disciples, there doesn’t seem to be any indication he ever yelled at them in a derogatory way. As best we can, it makes sense to treat others the way He treats us in similar circumstances. Yelling at someone in anger seems to be the fleshly way to argue. Since Christians tend to operate in the flesh, it’s understandable that this is fairly common. But I don’t think it’s the way the Holy Spirit shows up in those situations, at least not according to Paul (Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, faithfulness, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL).

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