How to win by losing
by Jon Walker
“I beg you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so that there won't be splits in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” (1 Corinthians 1:10 LB)
Fellowship — In any argument, your goal should be to love, not win.
It’s much harder to love someone than it is to merely beat them in an argument. In fact, no one ever really wins an argument. The truth is that Love – and only Love – wins.
We see God’s strategy in the Resurrection, where it appears that all is lost, but then the Almighty snatches victory from defeat, not by winning arguments, but by loving those who wage war against him – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)
You can win any argument when –
· You let mercy lead (Proverbs 3:3-6) – You have to abandon the idea of what is fair. God's approach is never based on fair. (Romans 5:8) When other believers treat us unfairly or fail to carry their load, God calls us to meet them where they are, applying mercy in the relationship.
· You are directed by truth (2 Corinthians 13:8) – Your feelings or thoughts do not determine truth (1 John 4:1), and the opinions of others – even a majority of others – do not have the final word on what is God’s Truth. Truth is what God says it is; he is the one and only final authority for interpreting any situation. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
· You acknowledge God’s presence (Matthew 28:20) – The enemy wants us to think the battle is ours alone, and when we believe that we fight like we’re separated from God. Simon Peter provides an example: his use of blustery words, curses, lies, and a sword were all desperate attempts to care for himself. (Matthew 26:52) Peter learned, as should we, that the battle is the Lord's (1 Samuel 17:47) and that we should trust the outcome to him.
God may call you to make the first loving move toward genuine healing by asking for forgiveness, or he may ask you to extend forgiveness – forgiving others as you also have been forgiven. (Matthew 6:12)
This may not seem logical, but then we’re not supposed to lean on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) What appears to us to be right may very well be wrong. (Proverbs 14:12) Instead, we’re to rely on the holy logic of Christ, where the interests of others are placed above our own. (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)
The Bible teaches that when we’re in conflict, the real enemy is not the person we’re arguing with – rather we’re in a battle against Satan’s “unseen spiritual forces of wickedness.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Until you fully and totally believe this, you’ll never get to the root of any conflict, and so you’re prone to keep trying to win every argument, as opposed to loving those you argue with.
· You never lose when you love – In any argument, your goal should be to love, not win.
· Stop using human weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) – Any method apart from God that you use to get your own needs met is a weapon of the flesh. Flesh weapons include: manipulation, gossip, slander, ridicule, threats, blame, nagging, deception, and silence. They push us into an “evil for evil” cycle, and that’s like trying to fight a skunk with stink – everybody loses!
· Fight with prayer – Many Christians never think to pray together when an argument breaks out. Yet prayer refocuses us, reminding us who God is and who we are as his children. Prayer draws us into the eternal perspective, giving us God's interpretation of events.