The challenge in any situation where brothers disagree with one another is to be able to speak the truth boldly, but in a loving manner so that the other party can actually hear your words. I’m not going to say I’ve been entirely successful at that here, but that’s been my sincere goal. Some posts may have accomplished that more successfully than others.

So how do we do this in real life? How do we discuss disagreements about weighty matters in a way that both sides can still feel the love? Obviously, it’s much easier said than done.

A tip that has helped me–although I still fail at it–is to assume good motives. Part of the reason why debates are frequently ineffective at changing hearts and minds is that both sides often assume the other side is intending to attack, or bring harm, or lie, or obfuscate the truth. If we can muster up enough good will to assume the other party’s intentions are good, that’s half the battle. In fact, it may be more than half the battle, it may be the entire battle, because that is a loving thing to do, and love is greater than all other commands.

It’s difficult to speak gently when both sides believe what they believe so passionately. Nevertheless, as brothers and sisters in Christ, it must be done. We have to assume good motives, even if we think we have every reason not to. Only then can we actually hear each other.