Have you ever known someone who seems to love to argue just for the sake of arguing? Perhaps he or she simply wants to stimulate conversation, discover new ideas or to uncover truth. More often, however, arguments are much more emotionally based. They are driven by the need to be right or in control or the desire to win or feel superior in some way. Someone has wisely said, “If you’re arguing with someone for more than 5 minutes, chances are it’s not about them or even about the subject matter, but it’s about you.” Arguments can also be driven by the need to put others in a poorer light than your self or even to purposefully cause the other person to feel threatened or to look bad. In some cases, an argument is the defensive mechanism that is used whenever that individual feels threatened or needs to blame someone else for a problem or crisis.
As the antagonism, frustration, and anger in the hearts and minds of the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the law increased, they often came to Jesus to try to catch Him with theological questions. They probably would have loved to spend time arguing with Him in front of the people, in the hopes that they could put Him in a negative light or prove to the listeners that they were right and righteous and that Jesus was uninformed and a sinner. The amazing thing about Jesus’ responses was that He never needed to satisfy their argumentative schemes because He was able to turn their trick questions or leading comments into an opportunity to explain truth and sometimes to point out quite directly the errors in their thinking. When one teacher did respond in a positive and open way to an answer that Jesus gave to Him, He was very quick to encourage that man’s wisdom. It wasn’t ever about winning or losing for Jesus, it was only about doing the things that His Father had sent Him to do.
Can you think of a time when arguing was a really good idea? Can you recall a time when both parties were winners?