How to Handle Controversial Issues
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs | © 2019
Daily headlines constantly bombard us with the latest disputes. From the LGBTQ community to pro-life bills or conservative versus progressive politics, there is no escape from facing difficult topics. How can Christians handle controversial issues?
Scripture offers much insight into this topic. From examples to stories to principles, the Bible notes at least four important ways to address controversies as a believer.
Response #1: Know What You Believe
2 Timothy 2:15 clearly teaches, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Our first response is to know what Scripture teaches on today’s controversial topics.
However, many either avoid discussing tough issues, minimize controversy, or fail to study to know what is right. These diversions weaken our impact in the lives of others. Instead, when we study God’s Word, we can grow in personal confidence and in the communication of truth.
Response #2: Communicate Your Convictions with Love
In Ephesians 4:15, Paul teaches to speak the truth in love. We don’t back down from God’s message, yet we don’t present it with hate. Notice the difference:
- Right message + wrong attitude = negative impact
- Right message + right attitude = positive impact
1 Peter 3:15-16 further emphasizes this need: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
We communicate best when we speak the truth in love.
Response #3: Live Consistent with Your Beliefs
Romans 12:20-21 note, “‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Our goal must be to live consistently with the values we articulate.
We are the only Bible many people will ever read. If others look to you, what message will they see?
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Dr. Dillon Burroughs
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.