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weekend discussion

October 18, 2008

this is the season where opinions fly. it’s time to vote. we get passionate for our candidate and defend him/her at all costs.

i’ve read a lot of discussion on the blogs over politics. some have been very informative. most have left me disgusted, disappointed and angry. not over content, but conduct.

i’ve also seen discussions that have nothing to do with politics, where disagreements have taken place then the fiery tongue has taken over.

my question: is it ever ok to ridicule, talk down or be rude to anyone? ever?

[and please support your answer]

31 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2008 10:40 am


    I can’t believe you have the gall to ask this question. Who do you think you are?


    Just playing. I think it’s perfectly fine to be firm, steadfast, and unwavering in conversation with someone. I don’t think it’s ok to be condescending, arrogant, or rude.

    I’ve been involved in a few political discussions where I think to myself how a person could possibly “believe” the same way I do (for the most part) but support a particular candidate…but throughout the discussion had the utmost respect for the person AND their views, and at the end of the day felt like they were still just as good a friend as always.

    I guess if we try to live by letting our majors be major and our minors be minor we’re at least closer to being in unity.

  2. October 18, 2008 10:48 am

    In cases when bigotry and hate are displayed I think it is ok. It is hard to show with your words on a blog that your tough words are meant to be out of love, but I think in those cases it is possible for it to be ok.

  3. October 18, 2008 10:59 am

    You must speak the truth in love. So my answer would be no.

  4. October 18, 2008 11:05 am

    russ – yes. major in the majors and minor in the minors. very good point!

    tyler – i agree its ok to be firm when someone is, say…out of line or being hurtful to another. but even then – you can do it in love without being rude and belittling.

    sam – thats where i stand too. always air on the side of grace and love. i cant see someones heart. i dont know the inner most part of them that compels them to speak, or act, the way they act. so i must respond with love…then prayer.

  5. October 18, 2008 11:18 am


    Tease me. Laugh at me when I’m a dork. Be sarcastic to lighten a mood. All fine.

    Ridicule, talk down be rude? Just NO. I think the same words can be spoken and it all comes down to intention.

    Those are the exact reason I have my absentee ballot on my desk and no one will know my vote. And why when my brothers would talk politics I would leave the room. It’s also why I want to put a magic wall between children and their parents sometimes to shelter them from the words that will damage and shape the rest of their lives and their self-worth.

    No. Never ok.

  6. October 18, 2008 11:50 am

    I don’t think that we should, but I see two sides to this fence.

    We should always be a positive witness. Because even when you think no one is watching or no one is ever going to know how you talked to this person, someone will. And usually the most typical response is, “I thought you were a Christian?” (That is if you are a Christian). How are you going to answer that one? Even though we are having a conversation with someone, our actions, the way we treat people, speak louder than words and it doesn’t help when the words are condescending, rude and belittling. As Christians, we have a name to uphold, His name, and there are a lot of people that don’t like Christians because people have called themselves a “Christian” and drug the name of God through the mud…

    Now there is the other side of the fence. When there comes a time for standing up and having a battle of words. Jesus did it, so does that mean we can do it? I don’t know, I am just going to throw the example out there and you can decide. So the first of the battle of words started with John the Baptist. Matthew chapter 3, specifically verses 7-10. John the Baptist totally calls out the Pharisees in front of EVERYONE! He calls them a brood of snakes! (A brood is a a number of young produced or hatched at one time; a family of offspring or young.) He calls them sons of snakes! Literal translation, he pretty much just called them sons of the devil! Ouch, that’s a slap in the face! (No pun intended for the whole turn the other cheek bit either.) So now it gets interesting, because Jesus does the EXACT same thing to them in John chapter 8! Read the chapter it’s really good! But here is a little break down of it. The Pharisees are calling Jesus out, and Jesus proceeds to destroy these guys (not literally)! They start saying that they are sons of Abraham, and Jesus turns around and says that they are sons of snakes, because they act like their father, the king of lies! So Jesus pretty much does what John the Baptist did and calls them sons of the devil! WOW! That is pretty intense! And if you read the chapter, you might catch the Pharisees calling Jesus out for “not having a father” I guess you would say. They pretty much slam Him because He was born out of wedlock. But I would say that Jesus pretty much owns them in this little verbal smack down!

    So I don’t know, I see two sides of the fence. It isn’t right to talk down to people, because, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” But I would also say there comes a time when you need to stand your ground and not be a push over either. So I am going to ride the fence on this one.

    God Bless

  7. October 18, 2008 11:52 am

    OH YEAH!!!! Matthew 23 is pretty good too!

    God Bless

  8. October 18, 2008 12:00 pm

    irock- i totally see both sides here. i also know that Jesus sees the heart and HE knew that He knew that He knew – HE was right.

    i see a lot, and hear a lot, of arguing for the sake of arguing because one side or the other wants to be right, then it turns into a smack down. which i never ever agree with or see it as beneficial or tactful or mature. ever. and this is mostly over things that are not even significant. just a simple difference in opinion.

    if i were Jesus – i would call people out too. but im not. i will pray immensely over a situation as the Lord allows discernment in me to do so – then, and only if needed, i will lovingly go to the person and speak my words in love. i have learned that if they can not be received, i will walk away. its all in His hands anyway and He is the one who corrects.

  9. October 18, 2008 12:09 pm

    My philosophy is: If you can’t say it in a high school debate class, don’t say it at all.

    As a people, we have a right to stand up for our position or against another. Politics can be a hotbed of fiery words, challenging questions, and spirited debate. If we all rolled-over, who knows where we’d be in this country.

    I try to keep my discussions as civil as possible. Is it hard, yeah definitely. Sometimes you just want to jump on the person, shake them, and yell “what are you thinking?!” But through thos discussions, I grow as a person. I learn something. I strengthen my positions.

    I think rudeness can be confused with straight talk sometimes. Sometimes you have to push the envelope to get a point across.

    God made us in the likeliness of Him. And, I’m guessing, He has had some pretty fiery words from time to time too. Just a hunch.

  10. October 18, 2008 12:19 pm

    I agree Tam, God can see the heart and knows without a shadow of a doubt what is in their hearts and what their intentions are. He is God, that’s what He does.

    I took a argumentative writing class a while back, and my professor was by FAR my favorite professor so far! The guy was just awesome. He told us something all the time, because people come into the class thinking it would be easy. They would say, “I know how to argue, this is going to be easy!” His response to this was, “To have a good argument, you need to argue about something your passionate about, dispassionately.” It makes perfect sense, because when your passionate about something, you can tend to get your feathers ruffled pretty quick and start attacking the other person. But when you take something your passionate about and completely remove yourself from it, and argue dispassionately about it. Then there is no need to defend your stance to the death, if needed. It is really hard to do, but it makes it so you don’t say something you will regret.

    God Bless

  11. October 18, 2008 12:22 pm

    This is such a loaded question!

    Rude. No. Never okay.

    But we all have such a different definition of what rude is, don’t we?

    I know that there are many times I find things my husband says or does “rude” and he says no-one else has ever found those things rude.

    So how do you measure that?

    I think it really comes down to intention. I’m human and I will slip up from time to time but I believe God looks at my heart and knows that I have a desire to walk in love with people even if at times, my actions/words show otherwise. And I hope that the other person involved would see that too. That my intention is not to ridicule, look down upon, be rude, or HURT the other person. Yeah, hurt is a huge factor.

    Am I making sense? I feel like I’m rambling…

  12. October 18, 2008 12:30 pm

    ryan – i have watched your discussions on politics at your place. i have always thought you respond quite respectfully. i can “sense” the frustration in your words at times – but theyre not directed at the person. ive yet to see you disrespect another with unkind or unnecessary words to make yourself look better or more authoritative.

    irock – i like what your professor said. thats something to keep in mind!

    les – youre right – rude is defined differently. a condescending tone might better make my point here. i guess that goes with the belittling.

    i have found in my history of being argumentative – i was actually unsure, in completeness, of what i was talking about – and didnt want to admit that the other person may have a point or leg to stand on. id rather chew off the leg and disable them so i stay on top.

  13. October 18, 2008 1:19 pm

    *big deep breath*

    I THINK you should always respond in love. I HOPE that I can always remember to do this. I KNOW that I fail at this more than I want to.

    Yes there are times when something needs to be brought to light, but why can’t it be done in a loving manner? My mama always says (w-w-w-waterboy) that “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Seriously. She always says that. And she’s right. Now yes, there are times when a firm tone needs to be taken, but the motivation behind it should always be in love. Example, a puny one but still an example….today at the park Aidan was riding his bike and a boy threw a rock at him. With love as my motivation, I took a firm tone with the boy and told him not to throw rocks at my kid, or ANY kid. He could have seen me as rude or mean, but from watching this kid with others on the playground, I knew he needed a firm tone. And HIS mama was not there. 😉

    I say this, but I don’t always follow it. Sometimes I set out with responding in love as my intention and it can escalate, especially when it becomes about defending something or someone. My hope is to know when to call it quits and let God sort out the rest.

  14. October 18, 2008 1:28 pm

    This is a question I have, not an argument against:

    In John 8 that irock was discussing… do you think Jesus was ridiculing or standing up for His people and speaking the truth? I think if He had started off, without provocation, by belittling them and shaming them and telling them how evil they are it would have been an uglier scene.

    To me, it seems like he was defending Himself and His people… speaking truth against lies … albeit passionately. I’m not sure I would classify that as ridicule. If I am with a friend who is being ridiculed and bullied, I will stand up for them and speak the truth. Maybe even point out why others shouldn’t be ridiculing when they have faults of heir own. But I think it can be done in a tone and intention of defense and honor rather than rudeness and condescention.

    It’s hard to interpret for me without being there to hear how the words were spoken, but I tend to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt that He spoke with conviction and not ridicule.

    Yes? No? Maybe? (I need to go read John 8 again…)

  15. October 18, 2008 3:04 pm

    Well, here’s the deep thinking coming into play…

    It really depends on the person making the comment, and the person hearing or reading it…their culture, their values, their morals…

    It goes along the lines of when you call someone something.

    For example, calling my a redneck would be offensive(not really), because I would say my roots are mostly in NJ, therefore, it would be better to call me a Yankee:)

    Or think of it this way, it really depends on which side leans more…

    you getting all this?

  16. October 18, 2008 3:08 pm

    Basically I mean ” perception is reality”.

  17. October 18, 2008 3:18 pm

    Sometimes I feel people deserve it. Sometimes I do things to deserve it. But, no, not biblically.

    Love is patient, love is kind, it is not rude…

    Hmmm. That chapter 13 has been challenging me in new ways this month.

  18. October 18, 2008 3:22 pm

    brandy – im with you. i dont always follow what i know i should do. i think paul talks about that in Romans 7;) but…it is never my intent to be hurtful and ridicule someone because they dont think the same way i do. its just not ok and imo is a bad witness.

    sara – i think speaking truth, then letting it go is key. i have found, from experience, that when i cant let things go…it is because i have backed myself up against a wall and have mouthed my way into a mess. so i have to keep it going hoping the other person will give up. now…i just walk away. i dont need to defend myself. and i certainly do not “need” to stay in an environment that tears me down. Jesus – spoke the truth according to what was seen in the heart, big difference..i cant see the heart. dang it! 😉

    ang – i see. im not so much talking about calling people names for the sake of calling names. im talking about getting into heated conversations about ones passions on politics, interpretation of scripture, public or private schools….whatever, and it escalating into a war of words that result in ridicule, harshness, abrasive attacks on character. that, to me, is never ok nor a picture of Christ in me.

  19. October 18, 2008 3:23 pm

    danielle – YES! it is not rude. thank you! you are right on. well…the Word is too 😉 and it is always a challenge to me too.

    iron sharpens iron. it does not stab each other.

  20. October 18, 2008 3:55 pm

    intentions are everything…

  21. October 18, 2008 4:11 pm

    Tam, I think it is a VERY bad witness. Does not win people for Christ that is for sure. My “barely believing” best friend lurks around some of the blogs and she has noticed there are some who teach with love and others who are trying to teach the same thing but are doing it ineffectively. I like her viewpoint because, like I said, she is a “barely believer.” As much as I like her viewpoint I’d love it even more if her view point left behind the “barely.” 😉 😆 And yes I have said this to her. Just in case there are any wonderers out there. 😉

  22. October 18, 2008 5:46 pm

    I used to argue just for the arguing. Actually I didn’t realize I did it until someone called it to my attention and I have been working on that. I just don’t think it is necessary to be rude, arrogant or condescending to others. I think you can stand up for what you believe and even be passionate about it without belittling someone else. There are quite a few people that I have agreed to disagree with especially about this election!

  23. October 18, 2008 8:12 pm

    No, I don’t. I’m not saying that I don’t but I don’t think it’s right. Make sense?

  24. October 18, 2008 8:32 pm

    I think your showing of Romans 12:3 explains a lot about this.

  25. October 19, 2008 6:18 am

    To me, rudeness is either a word or action that was not necessary. Rudeness doesn’t serve a purpose. A rude person loses respect, quickly. No, it’s never okay.

    Taking a stand is not rude.

    Telling someone you like their old hairstyle better than their new one….well, that’s just rude!

  26. October 19, 2008 8:17 am

    I think it is rude to be rude. I think it is funny to be funny and yes, intention is everything. One must be very aware of who is in listening range. If somebody is going to be hurt or sad by what you are saying or going to be upset because they think you are talking about them…then seriously, keep your pie hole shut. I think it is crazy to always be worried if somebody is going to be offended by what you say [because usually somebody is going to be]. But common sense goes a really long way and if your intent is to love, then well, you are probably going to succeed. My opinions are really strong and so I usually get all worked up over them but in dialoging with whoever I am talking too I almost always offend somebody…so I am working on keeping my voice low and being intentional in my word choice. Really…who am I trying to convince? Do I really have to talk all the time? Probably not…even if I do think I am funny or have a valid point. I never think it is okay to be rude or mean…I think a little sarcasm is funny…because I have dry humor, but even that has been known to hurt some feelings along the way…so I would warn to be careful because we are delicate..each and every one of us. So to your question I would say, NO. It is never okay.

  27. October 19, 2008 5:33 pm

    I don’t think it’s ever ok to be rude. Sometimes rude slips out, and it offends someone, and apologies are then in order. We can disagree. We can debate. That’s what makes our political system what it is. But rude is just not something that is a desirable trait in anyone.

    Being passionate about something is one thing. Thinking that your words can convince another person is arrogant. Speaking words in a way that is attacking, condescending, arrogant, ‘all knowing’ or otherwise strongly opinionated is all under the umbrella of rude in my book.

    That is the person I used to be. I used to think that I could debate, or argue, someone into another way of thinking. I used to think that for some reason I had to be right. And if someone told me I was wrong, I would argue the point until it was either a full blown argument or some other uncomfortable situation…usually at work. Christ took all that away from me. I can have an opinion now, but I have not been a situation where my words are hurtful or (quite honestly) embarrassing anymore.

    Some of the things that God took from me, I miss…sort of. This is one thing that I’m glad is gone…but it took Him to remove it.

  28. October 19, 2008 5:40 pm

    Ridicule? NEVER!
    Talk Down? NEVER!
    Rude? NEVER!

    Honest? ALWAYS!
    Love? ALWAYS!
    Kind? ALWAYS

  29. October 19, 2008 5:45 pm

    lsof- exactly! 😉

    brandy – that makes me sad. we never know who’s watching. well, i know One person who is always watching. that should be enough for me 🙂

    ramsey – i agree. i can speak my mind, now, without resorting to tearing the other person down. i dont need to do that anymore to make me feel bigger or better.

    pete – yes? yes. 😉

    becca – right on!!! good catch!

    melissa – yes. they do lose respect quickly. it can be earned back – but for a time it will get lost. a long with trust. i dont feel safe in the presence of people who argue all the time. its too volatile for me. i love me a good, deep discussion…dont get me wrong – but i can not handle the arrogance, pride and rude mouths.

    kristi – you should run for office. seriously!

    lori – i couldve written your comment. did you sneak into my head?

  30. October 19, 2008 5:46 pm

    papa – A-MEN!!!!

    i miss you!

  31. October 19, 2008 7:30 pm

    Sorry, Tam. sneaking into other peoples heads is a trick I haven’t learned yet. I keep trying, but not there yet.

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