Lesson From a German Soft Drink
The stuff in the glass over there is called "Spezi", and it's my favorite soft drink. I don't think they sell it as such .. it's simply a 50/50 combination of Cola and Orangeade. In this case, it's half Diet Orange Crush and half caffeine-free Diet Coke.
I believe they do sell it as such in Germany, as I recall seeing a billboard .. from the train .. that said "Spezi ist Spitze!". Spitze being excellent, wonderful, the apex, etc.
If you've ever tried pouring a diet Coke into a glass, you probably know how foamy it gets. Takes forever to pour a glass full of it, and not just get a glass of foam. But I discovered something yesterday while fixing a Spezi (I told you it was my fave.....): if you pour the Orange Crush in first (it being non-carbonated), then when you pour the Coke in, there's no foam.
And hardly any when you slip in the ice cubes.
That brought two things to mind. The first is that how you go about something can be as important as what it is you're doing. Be offensive enough, and the listener or observer isn't going to get what you're driving at, at all. I heard it expressed once like this: "If you tell someone they're condemned to an eternity in hell, because of their sin, you'd better have a tear in your eye"
Amen to that.
But the other thing that came to mind is a statement I saw perhaps half a century ago. It said simply "Where one will not argue, two cannot argue. In other words, if you're the recipient of some harsh or unfair or unfounded criticism, your reaction is entirely up to you. I recall one time being particularly unfairly and viciously accused of false teaching. The man had about a dozen points written down, all of which were either patently false, or terrible misinterpretations of what I'd said. I was all ready to set him straight point by point, when God reminded me of what he'd said to Moses .. when Moses had the Red Sea in front of him, Pharaoh's army roaring up behind him, and angry Israelis all around. From Exodus 14:14:
So I simply said to him "Anything else?" He said no, and I thanked him for his opinion. He'd said I should quit teaching and he asked if I was going to. I said "No". We then left the church and talked about our vehicles.
We eventually, within a few months, became good friends.
Said all that to say this: if you're going to criticize anyone, constructively of course, make sure that's what you're doing, and not trying to win an argument and "be right".
God also said something about soft answers, I think......