Defending My Position, No Matter How Stupid I May Sound

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Pro-choicers and pro-lifers demonstrated in Pa...

Pro-choicers and pro-lifers demonstrated in Parliament Square, London, as the House of Commons debated the Embryology Bill (focusing on whether the abortion time limit should be lowered from 24 weeks) on Tuesday May 20 2008. MPs voted to keep the 24-week limit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love to debate. Any subject, any side, debating is just pure fun for me. And I blame this unusual characteristic of mine completely on my favorite uncle in the entire world — my Uncle John.

As a teenager, I was dealing with some pretty heavy things at home, so any time an opportunity arose that allowed me to escape that atmosphere, I was all over it. And when I was about 13 or 14, my Aunt Pam had a couple of children, thus needing a babysitter. And it was often suggested that I just spend the night, so I tended to spend quite a bit of time over at her house. Aunt Pam was hilarious, and what I would term somewhat eccentric. She fostered in me a love for all things Star Trek, Dallas, Dynasty, and HBO related. She was always laughing, and no subject was ever really off-limits to her… a trait in her I simply adore…

Aunt Pam was married to Uncle John, and maybe other than my grandmother — who belongs to Mensa, he is the smartest man I know. Almost from the moment we met, we always seemed to lock ourselves down into hours long debates on every opinion I’ve ever had. Is there a God? Not according to Uncle John, and here’s why…Is Pro-Life the stance Jesus would have taken? No, according to Uncle John, and here’s why….It seemed that any opinion I had about even the most minuscule, dumb things, my Uncle John was opposed to it.As time rolled by, I started to freak out a little by this, thinking that if the Smartest Man in the Entire World disagreed with me about everything, maybe I was an idiot. Even worse, I really wanted this person’s respect, as I really did admire him.

Finally, right after my 16th birthday, I didn’t take the bait of our next quest into the pros and cons of whatever he was dangling in front of my intellect. Instead, I just asked him, do you think I am stupid? We never agree on anything!

I can still see his face in my memory as clear as if he were standing right here in front of me.

With a twinkle in his eye, he said, ” No, I don’t think you’re stupid. Sometimes, I do agree with what you are saying. But I always argue for the opposite side, so you’ll know why you believe what you do. Everyone has their own opinions, but few people have really asked themselves why. These debates of ours are good for both of us, because we learn how to defend our beliefs to each other and to ourselves without hating our opponent for not agreeing with us. We learn to not be offended by opposing beliefs; instead, you learn how to respect a person who knows WHY they believe what they do, and is ready to defend it to the end.” And then, of course, he added, “Besides, you’re fun to rile up — it’s so easy!”

Without knowing it, my Uncle John taught me the meaning of this verse:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged. 1 Tim. 2:24

Life has taken me far away from my Uncle John, and we haven’t had a good debate since I was that teenager babysitting his sons, but I think back to some of those emotion-filled, hot debates, and I have to laugh at how easily he could push my buttons. Thank God for the Uncle Johns of this world.

Know why you believe what you believe, and be able to defend your position!!

– Bird

18 thoughts on “Defending My Position, No Matter How Stupid I May Sound

  1. Wow… this is so timely! Two things have occured in our lives. T1 got selected to attend a national program for young leaders that will be chock full of … um, opinions on the opposite end of the spectrum from ours … and she will be participating in activities where she may have to argue for an opinion different from hers–what an awesome learning tool! Of course we have been joking that we will have to deprogram her afterwards but still, how cool! And then secondly just this morning I came across an event too late to attend but it was about asking teens to be able to stand strong and know their beliefs, using 1 Peter 3:15.

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    • lol..I’m glad you got a kick out of it. Other people’s opinions don’t bother me at all, thanks to ole Uncle John! I think we all need at least one of those in our lives! Good luck with her deprogramming…I’ll bet you won’t even need to!
      :-)

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  2. After a heated discussion on women in ministry during this week’s bible study, this is a great point to share with the group on why we don’t have to apologize for our opinions. Thanks for the insight!

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    • Oh, yes! It can be tricky…I think it helps when you’re so comfortable with the way you believe, you don’t feel defensive about your position. That has always helped me….

      Thanks for the kind words!

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  3. Joyce Vano

    Especially sweet reading because I know all three of you !! And can just imagine your decriptions of Pam & John…. If you are ever this way would love to sit with you as an adult…. but I do not debate, that is a trait my older children have not me.

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    • He was a good teacher. I know exactly what you mean. I like to debate; I hate arguing. At the point someone has stopped using logical reasons and is instead calling me names and questioning my IQ, it ceases to be fun.

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  4. I always laugh when people bring IQ into an argument, but I never explain why. Eh. Its hard to find people these days who debate without getting irate. I wouldn’t have a hard time shutting them down with insults, I know that for sure but I refuse to do that with people I really care about. there’s just no sense in it.

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    • Being right about everything in the whole world ceased to be a realistic objective for me when I was about 12. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t have all the answers. I find it a really admirable trait in some people, frankly. I guess the better you feel about your opinions, the less you feel defensive when someone has a differing one. I don’t live in anyone else’s life but my own…I get to be the Ruling Authority on My Life…not other people’s..

      And I’m frankly too tired to even try…Mine is enough to keep up with.

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      • I agree. I am not going to deny though, the fact that sometimes, I like to debate the opposite side, just to see someones reaction. Slightly like your uncle but not quite. I enjoy seeing how people tick or what keeps them engaged or passionate etc. I also find it interesting that if you win the debate, sometimes they buy into what you’re saying… And then I have to be like “Yo, I’m just kidding man ”

        I think you said it best, “Know why you believe what you believe, and be able to defend your position!!”
        :)

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