An argument and a discussion are two different things. Many times during an argument, an individual may say, “We’re not arguing! We are just having a discussion.” Due to this common saying, many people have equated discussions with an argument. In actuality, however, an argument and a discussion are not the same. In this article, we will discover the true differences between an argument and a discussion.
The true difference between an argument and a discussion is that an argument is built out of anger; whereas, a discussion is more positive and each individual in the conversation is polite to one another. Arguments are normally due to a disagreement. Most everyone has been in an argument at some point in their life. If you are like me, I absolutely hate arguments and I hate conflicts. I try to avoid arguments at all costs. Arguments are normally yelled in angry tones and many hateful words are said. However, discussions are radically different because they are done formally, politely, and professionally.
Normally, discussions are not done with yelling, but rather, in kinder, more soft tones of voice. This does not mean discussions cannot become lively because they can; however, anger and yelling do not often result from a discussion. In a discussion, two or more people are talking through a topic. This means each member of the party takes a turn to talk and listens when another member of the party is speaking. In other words, individuals participating in a discussion do not talk over one another.
During arguments, differing sides are bound to interrupt and talk over each other. Sadly, in arguments, people are not respectful of one another, in which many hateful things can be said that once spoken can never be taken back.
The Bible warns us against arguing with others. Paul warns all people, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:23-24). As Paul tells us, we are to have nothing to do with arguments because they only produce quarrels.
As believers, we do not need to be involved with arguments or quarrels as they only lead to anger, hate, and factions among Christians. Not to mention the fact that if an unbeliever saw Christians arguing, it would be a bad testimony to Christ. It is vital to remember that we are the hands and feet of Jesus to the lost world. Paul tells us that we are “ambassadors on behalf of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). This means we must extend the love of Jesus in our actions and in our communication with others.
If we are constantly arguing and hurting others with our words, we are not shining Jesus’ light into the world. The Bible teaches us that arguments only stir up disasters. Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.” Those who start arguments are normally angry, hot-tempered, and looking for a fight. Instead of starting arguments, everyone should strive for unity and peace.
Romans 14:19 urges us to live peaceful lives as Paul says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” In the same way, Jesus wants us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). Since the Lord wants us to live at peace with others, we should strive after the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with engaging in healthy discussion. Discussions are good and can help build up relationships. A discussion is a respectful and academic conversation or debate about a certain topic. Discussions strive to keep unity and peace with one another. Even though both sides of the conversation may disagree at points, they are not hostile or hurtful to one another.
Discussions can be about a myriad of things, such as heavy topics or minuscule subjects. No matter what a discussion is about, it is normally positive, healthy, and respectful. Arguments are not part of discussions. If a person has a hostile tone or an angry tone, they are no longer taking part in a discussion. If a hostile, angry, or mean tone is taken, the discussion has become an argument. Beware!
Living to Please God
In everything we do, we need to strive to please God. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In our speech, we need to glorify God by only engaging in healthy dialogue and discussions with others. Our words always need to build others up rather than tear them down (Ephesians 4:29). Nothing positive results from an argument. The end result of an argument is only hurt, pain, and distress.
Think about the last time you had an argument. How did you feel? It probably made you feel angry, bitter, and overwhelmed. Positive feelings do not emerge in arguments. Even if one side “wins,” nobody truly wins because both parties have been hurt. Growing up, there were constant arguments in my house, and I hated them. I believe that since I grew up with constant arguments and quarrels I do not want to participate in them anymore. Arguments only make me feel stressed, panicked, and hurt.
Maybe you can relate to these feelings. I know of no one who feels good after an argument. As Christians, we should not want to cause anyone pain. Instead, we should want to extend Jesus’ love, grace, and kindness to others, even if we disagree with them.
Choose Discussions—Not Arguments
It is vital for us to choose to engage in discussions instead of arguments. Arguments only lead to quarrels and anger. Discussions are healthy conversations that are positive and respectful. Arguments have no place in a believer’s life, and it is important that we abstain from arguments. Engaging in arguments will paint a negative picture of Christ to the world.
For unbelievers who do not know Jesus, they are looking to us as Christians to display Jesus’ love. If we are always arguing and yelling at each other, what is the outside world going to think of Christ? Instead of connecting Jesus with who He truly is, they are going to connect Jesus to angry, bitter, and hateful individuals. It is our job as believers to present and share Jesus’ light to the world, but we cannot do this if we are always participating in arguments.
Arguments can stem from pride because arguments are obsessed with proving “I’m right” and “they are wrong.” Whether you are right or not, lay your weapons down. Strive for peace, unity, and kindness, even if the other person does not reciprocate your kind behavior. Our lives are meant to live to the glory of God, not to the desires of our sinful flesh. Choose today to give up arguing and choose to strive after peace. If you engage in conversation, make sure it is done in kindness, respect, and friendliness, such as in a healthy discussion.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.