In Search of the Lost Art of Gentle Demolition
Truth be told, some parts of what I'm writing here are something of a departure for me. Usually, I’m the one quoting Peter instead of Paul: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). But Paul told us to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
How on earth do I demolish someone’s argument with gentleness and respect? That’s a tricky thing to balance, and I’m not sure I’ve got it all figured out. Still, that’s what we’re called to do, and that’s what I’m going to attempt in the posts that follow. We’re not just called to plead or suggest that someone might be mistaken; we’re called to demolish foolish arguments.
Now, I’ve already gone on record here, but let me say it again: Non-Christians are not the only ones proffering foolish arguments these days – not by a long shot! Followers of God should lead the charge against folly wherever folly is to be found (say, for example, in a forwarded e-mail about a sick child whose parents want you to boycott ABC for showing the Harry Potter movie in primetime with only commercials from Proctor & Gamble – which we all know is run by satanic forces – just look at their logo!).
We are to love everyone (family, friends, neighbors, enemies, etc.), but we must love them enough to demolish the lies they believe. And we are especially supposed to police ourselves, to weed our own garden, to shovel our own driveway, to (goodness, how many ways can I say this?) make sure the foolish arguments aren’t actually coming from inside the house.
So, how do we do it? How do we demolish arguments gently and respectfully? How do we wage war in the name of love? Is that even possible?