It’s Not Always What You Believe, But How You Believe It

In counseling married couples, I often attempt to help someone see another’s point of view. It doesn’t always work, but it is necessary for reconciliation.

“I don’t know why she is upset by what I said. It’s the truth!”

As he hammers his point home, she sets up her defenses. Before the discussion gets more heated, I will often remind him of this critical point:

It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Christian Wars

I believe that Christians are still trying to figure out how to navigate platforms, pulpits, and podcasts. We have these tools at our hands like never before. We are being confronted with more ideas than ever before. We need room to disagree, but how we disagree is a tricky subject to address.

The most recent social media banter war consisted of the increased scrutiny of female Bible teacher Beth Moore and the public reaction of pastor John MacArthur. You probably have heard the clip. MacArthur is supposed to respond with a few words to whatever the moderator mentions. When mentioning Beth Moore’s name, he replies, “Go home.” The response was met with much approval from the attendees at the event.

The Christian wars began again. Those who believe Moore should not be preaching defended MacArthur’s position and labeled anyone who acquiesced as those bending to the culture. Some made a case for why Moore’s ministry is valid. There were others who criticized the way MacArthur handled it from both sides of opinions regarding this issue.

The more it drags on, the more we argue in front of a watching world.

What Should We Do?

I believe that MacArthur has the right and reasoning to believe what he believes. I believe Moore has valid reasonings as well to lead a ministry like she has led.

Just like that original counseling illustration, I want to exhort my Christian brothers and sisters:

It’s not always what you believe, but how you believe it.

Having a biblical conviction is needed in these times. I often struggle in expressing a biblical conviction while maintaining a godly attitude. I think having both of these is so needed in these days.

As a Christian, I have to defend just about everything I believe that stems from the Bible. The culture is offended by it, but also other Christians disagree with parts of it. While any type of belief has the ability to offend someone simply on the content, I do not think we need to add fuel to the fire by the manner in which we present it.

You can disagree with others without demeaning them.

I believe that goes for the initial setup, the original comments, the social media banter, and even the manner in which I write this post.

I had been asked by many to express my opinions on the issue, and every time I wanted to express my thoughts, I found myself guilty of leaning towards the problems that bothered me in others. While I have beliefs on the issue and the way the issue was handled, I want to be charitable to those involved.

I’m unwilling to allow moments like these to be lost on my personal growth. Disagreements can be stressful. Doctrinal issues that need to be confronted should cause emotion. I just wonder if we would all benefit from learning how to express our beliefs and critique another’s in a charitable way.

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. -1 Corinthians 13:1-3

23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. -2 Timothy 2:23-26