In the third chapter of Isaiah, we read a number of things which I dare say will never be adequately expressed in Veggie Tales, flannelgraphs, or Illustrated Children’s Bibles.
Just having finished up Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams and David Fisher, I am struck by a couple of things.
As C.S. Lewis once famously put it, “…those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
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The art of disagreeing agreeably seems lost on most in our day and age. Even to use the word “argument” is taken one way – as describing fighting, bickering, quarreling, and contention.
If you do not believe me, you may be living under a rock or on another planet. But if you have access to the internet on that other planet or under that rock, do a quick image search on any search engine for “argument,” and that will tell you all you need to know about how most folks understand the term now.
But there is an older sense of the word which has everything to do with making a proposal using evidence, reason, and respect. As Merriam-Webster puts it in the first definition – and the one I prefer – an argument is “the act or process of arguing, reasoning, or discussing : ARGUMENTATION; b: a coherent series of reasons, statements, or facts intended to support or establish a point of view.”
Toward the end of MAGA – Make Arguments Great Again – consider Proverbs 9:7-9.
“Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”
Perhaps it should be a relief to us to have not only permission but a command here to not correct scoffers and mockers. To tell a wicked man he is being wicked will inspire him to hurt, abuse, curse, and injure you however he can to dissuade you from doing it again.
Correcting wise and good men, however, earns their respect. They will love and thank you for it. And why? Because by being corrected clearly and effectively when they need to be, you give them an opportunity to be wiser and better men.
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