In my previous post I made the point that it isn’t necessarily bad when someone challenges your view or someone else’s. In fact most of the time it is good to have our beliefs challenged and others challenged. Many times people use the term: Hair Splitter on anyone who comments in disagreement on an issue that they find trivial. Many times the boils down to name calling, which is not a good way to argue one’s point. The point can also be brought up, that even in small issues sometimes if you miss by an inch you will end up missing by a mile; sometimes the smallest issues are actually very important.
However, in the previous post i never made reference to the fact that there are actually legitimate times to “hair split” and times to not. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject, but i think these are a few good questions to consider when desiring to correct someone else’s ideas or desire to tell someone else who is “hair splitting” to shut up.
1. What’s your motives? Are you doing it because you truly care about the truth, or just to be “right”?
2. What’s your attitude? Are you doing it respectfully?
3. What’s the real issue? Is the issue really that important that it needs to be brought up to that degree? Is it a preference issue or a real truth issue?
4. What’s the outcome? Will this destroy someone’s reputation, life, or your relationship? Is it really worth that?
This said, there are times which one shouldn’t “hair split” or let others, and there are times which one “must”. We must attempt to be loving, caring, and honest. Sometimes its better to let someone continue in a behavior than address it, other times its imperative that we step in with respect and love and graciously disagree with them.
Is there anything that you would add to my list? Do you have any examples in which someone “hair split” that shouldn’t have, or did and it was good? I would love to hear them.
I think in this day and age, when information and technology is growing at such blistering speeds, the issue of challenging some ones ideas/views does come down to ones motivation. But isn’t it all motivation i.e., “what’s in it for me”. In this great country of ours we have the (for now at least) right to free speech and are able to voice our opinions. I think it’s always good to offer a differing view but I believe the real issue is “mannors”. We need to always be respectful of the soul, lost or otherwise, that we are speaking with and we need to remember that there is a “time and a place” for everything. I believe we as Christians have done great harm to our Lords cause by not heeding Paul’s call to be humble and respectful of others when sharing biblical values or for that matter, the Gospel. As such, we end up looking “narrow minded” and “hard nosed” rather than thoughtful and caring. Thus our motivation comes into question and the person/soul/mind/heart we are speaking to goes on the defensive instead of continuing a dialogue of thought and reason.
Great topics Ryan keep it up…. but thats’ just my opinion 😉
Thanks Rob for the comment. I totally agree, attitude and manners are very important to anyone critiquing another. I think we can learn a lot from Martin Luther, when he was called to trial, he was so shaken up that he asked for more time to think about his response. Ill post his prayer at worms.