In my search for greater levels of wisdom I enjoy debating a topic, a view, or philosophy with someone who has a different opinion then mine. Although it is a rare event in my life because it is hard to find someone who can do that, defend a personal view logically, intelligently, and graciously. Many people will take exception to something I write in my blog and I offer to discuss it with them via email and read their argument for why they believe what they do. A few will start but very few last long. Many just don’t want to take the time to think through their position and then write it out clearly and persuasively. Many are incapable of doing that because they really don’t know why they hold the view or position that they do, it is pretty much based on an emotional response to an event or events in their past. Many times I pull the plug on a written discussion because the other person doesn’t know how to debate an issue without attacking my character, motives, or intelligence. I will often point that out in an attempt to help them and prolong the debate, but usually it is met with more insults. I see it all the time on Facebook between people who are at odds with each other. There is no attempt to understand the other persons view point or understand why they believe it, instead they verbally club their “adversary” using words that attack their intelligence, motive, and character.
Key principle: Clear thinkers who carefully craft their beliefs logically with accurate information and facts can talk graciously and persuasively to others treating them with dignity and respect. The power of their influence is in the logic of their words. Those who have not thought deeply with wisdom about their view, and can’t clearly and logically express their belief must use intimidation and anger in their attempt to persuade others.
One of the reasons I enjoy listening to people like Thomas Sowell is because of their dignity and composure as they communicate which is a clear indicator of their strength, confidence, and intelligence.
If you read or hear someone communicating their opinion in anger, or insulting another person recognize this fact, they really don’t know what they are talking about, they just feel strongly about what they are expressing, which does not make it true, though they think it does.
Personal application: If you are talking or writing and you feel yourself getting emotional, shut up, don’t sin with your words. Think through what you believe, write it out clearly and then when opportunity comes share intelligently and graciously. If the person you are talking to “rants” say, “God bless you”, and change the subject or move on.
Here are a few verses from the book of Proverbs in the Bible for your reading pleasure.
Proverbs 17:7 Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool,
Proverbs 14:7 Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.
Proverbs 20:3 Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, But any fool will quarrel.
Proverbs 23:9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
Proverbs 29:11 A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.