I have noticed throughout my life that being right is not always the wisest decision in the moment. Sometimes, the best decision is to yield victory of the debate in favor of saving the relationship. I ended up learning this the hard way, but eventually, I came to the conclusion that I can’t win every debate if I truly want to love the way that Jesus loved. If you win the argument, but lose the relationship, then you haven’t really won anything. In fact, you may have inadvertently pushed that person even further away from the Truth. Start with love and let the people in your life know that you are reliable and trustworthy.
I used to have a buddy in college named Marty who disagreed strongly with me on a lot of things about life and about scripture. He believed in predestination and sided more with a Calvinistic theology, whereas I believed more strongly in free will and had roots with Arminian theology. I won’t delve too deeply into the details of our discussions, but I will say that they often got pretty intense. On a few occasions, when we were in a heated argument, I would get so angry, that I would start to insult Marty just because I wanted to win. It got to the point where I realized that Marty and I were spending less time together because of our differences. I started to see him as an enemy.
One day, it was he who reached out to me to apologize for the heated words exchanged in one of our previous “battles.” I nearly cried because I was so relived to have my friend back on speaking terms. I apologized for how I behaved in return, and we both agreed to prioritize the friendship over our theological differences. We remain friends to this day, and as far as I am aware, neither of us have budged in our interpretations of scripture, but I count the entire experience as a victory because in the end, I got to keep my friend.
Christ tells us this in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Christ doesn’t ask us to yield our convictions rooted in Truth, but He does ask that we love one another as He loved us. When we do that, the world will know that we serve the One, True King of Kings.