Debates have never changed a heart

Debates have never changed a heart

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We’re nowhere close to November, and I’m already sick and tired of debates, caucuses, primaries, polls, and mudslinging. And boy oh boy, do we have mudslinging this year.

I don’t understand debates. I know what they used to be about, but in today’s political arena, they’ve become shouting matches and opportunities to make each other look bad. And I can legitimately tell you that no debate I’ve ever heard has changed my mind about something I believed.

We all have our own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. We all live according to our own beliefs, and we get those beliefs as we go through life. And whether those beliefs are right or wrong, I’m not strong enough to change anyone’s mind about anything.

Today’s verses are Ezekiel 36:26-27.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

The only One with the power to change hearts is God Himself. That is something no human is capable of doing, but we try. We fight and we argue and we spout platitudes and Bible verses, but have we ever stopped to think that maybe the first heart we should worry about is our own?

America is a debate culture anymore. Or maybe it’s more accurate to call us an argument culture. We don’t discuss things rationally or logically anymore. Everything we do and say usually gets caught up in a firestorm of emotion.

I’ve never seen a debate or argument change anyone’s mind. Usually it just settles each side more firmly into their own beliefs than they had been before.

So where does that leave me as a Christ-follower? If my job as a Christ-follower is “to know Christ and make Christ known” then how do I do that when the world doesn’t want to believe? How can I live for Jesus when I can’t change anyone’s mind?

That’s when I have to remind myself that I can’t even change my own heart. God had to do that. And that’s the answer for every person in our world. Not more debates. Not more arguments. Not more screaming matches where we judge a candidate’s worth by how many insults he can fling.

God needs to change our hearts, and He needs to start with my heart. My heart is selfish. I want what I want, and I often don’t care what it costs people around me.

There’s nothing wrong with discussing politics. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe. But ask yourself why you’re doing it first. Before you shoot someone down, ask yourself why. Because if you’re doing it because you think you can change your mind, stop. You can’t. Only God can do that. And you aren’t God.

Remember how we’re supposed to treat each other. No, we aren’t supposed to be doormats, but we aren’t supposed to bulldozers either.

State what you believe. Be honest. Be genuine. But don’t get defensive when others don’t share your beliefs. And if someone insults you, don’t insult them back. Maybe the world sees striking back as strength, but God doesn’t value strength of arms or sharpness of wit. God values strength of character.

So say your piece. Let the blows roll off. And have the courage to let God fight your battles. Nothing you can say will change anyone’s mind, but our God has the power to change hearts. We just have to live the way we’re supposed to and get out of His way.

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