I pray you enjoyed a wonderful CHRISTmas and new year with family. Were your holiday gatherings and mealtimes peaceful? When friends and relatives gather, lively discussion can get stirred up as folks express their thoughts around certain topics. Was there pressure to limit conversation to football and the kids?
There is so much to talk through with all that is going on around our nation in the federal, state and local government, in schools and in churches. Yet it is tough to have any real dialogue around complex issues. Dads and moms are charged to raise godly offspring (Malachi 2:15) thus healthy dialogue need to happen in the home.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. – Colossians 2:8. Paul knew well how worldly philosophies could deceive. Biblically, we all fall into one of two camps – “Adamic, such that we are full image-bearers in need of divine rescue; and Christic, such that we are redeemed and remade in the image of the true image-bearer to look like Him.” (Strachan, Christianity and Wokeness). We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, – 2 Corinthians 10:5. The charge is to not get caught up in the emotions of the moment or the arguments of the day. Paul calls for discipline to navigate through the ideologies and the evils this world can stir up. While in Athens, Paul could have very easily gotten distracted by all the objects of worship throughout the city. Any one of them provided grounds for a good argument with people holding extreme views. Yet Paul took those thoughts captive and addressed the men of Athens as a very religious people. Then he called attention to an altar with an inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Paul said, “Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:23). A healthy dialogue was opened around challenging thoughts of the day, a dialogue with eternal ramifications.
Tips for healthy dialogue around challenging thoughts of our day:
- Conduct regular family discussion time, once or twice a week;
- Open in prayer and/or a short devotion;
- Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger;
- Welcome all questions to gain understanding;
- If an argument ensues, encourage debate of the opposing points of view;
- Discuss the absolute truth as it applies to both sides of the argument;
- Extend grace to individuals but stand firm on issues.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Son, the word become flesh. Thank You for the eternal perspective He introduced into this world. Too often I allow myself to get caught up in the struggles I face today, in the thoughts and trends present in this world. Forgive me. I know You are sovereign over my yesterdays, today and tomorrows. You expect me to glorify You where You have me which includes engaging in healthy dialogues around thoughts of our day. Help me take my thoughts captive in obedience to You and point to You with every discussion I have, starting with my family. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father takes thoughts captive and engages in healthy dialogue.