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How to win a losing argument

letting go of justification

“He hit me first!”

Nice try, but it doesn’t work. The one who threw the first punch may be held legally accountable, but we are not in the game of legal winners and losers. We are in a contest for hearts. The one who threw the first punch can almost always justify his behavior.

An angry or bitter person is not listening to what you say. He is listening to what he hears you say. When we respond back to a person in a way that is even a little bit sick, the other person will see it through the lens of his offense.

In the mind of an offended person, it really doesn’t matter who went first. It doesn’t matter who had the more grotesque behavior. Logic or fairness are not part of the equation. What he sees, feels, and experiences drives his response. He sees through a dirty lens! (Matthew 6:23).

Just as a drunk person thinks he is being rational, an emotionally elevated person will believe he is dealing with a current situation in a reasonable way. He is “justified” in his elevated response. Most attempts to resolve anything during a time of escalation will be no more successful than ministering to a drunken person. Our goal should be to win hearts.

How to win a losing argument? The only way to do that is letting go of justification and being blameless in our response.

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; - Psalm 15:2-3

How to win a losing argument

When we deescalate a situation, we at least give ourselves a chance to be heard. The anger subsides, and the other person is then able to hear through a calmer spirit's filter. If the person under attack maintains a godly spiritual flow, it often prompts the offended individual to shift in a different spiritual direction. Once in a better place spiritually, he will hear differently.

You can do that by directly requesting a space to step back. That could mean asking a third party to intervene or taking some form of a time out. Occasionally, a change of topic works, such as "Let's get ice cream, and then we can discuss this."

Being blameless is the only way to have a leg to stand on in an argument. 

Blameless means not taking an offense. Don’t take the response of others personally!!! Others respond to invisible triggers that are much greater than the current situation. If you believe that you are the primary "cause" of this person's response, you will take it personally, and then you will be responsible for the escalating response!

Blameless means maintaining an attitude of being for the other person. Blameless means keeping your eyes on the possibility of a godly solution or growth. Blameless means managing the current situation so that tomorrow (or some later moment) can have the possibility of a healthy, hearing conversation.

To walk blameless is the only way to give yourself the chance to win hearts—to effectively do the work of God.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. - Philippians 2:14-16


What's Next?

Heart Change U offers has a whole toolkit to encourage and support you in the walk toward Heart Change. Check it out:


HeartChangeU tools for Small Groups & Church Leaders

Heart Change U is an online training platform for Christian counselors, church elders, pastors, and those who seek to help influence others in healing and growing in His image. Developed through more than 15 years of helping addicts and alcoholics heal at a spiritual level from the wounds that cause their addictions, these proven tools and approaches are intended to equip you to walk with others through the Heart Change process in order to become the men and women of God He is calling them to be.


The Omega Project: Faith Based Residential Recovery Program

The Omega Project Christian addiction recovery program offers a community of discipleship homes where assistance is always available to help fight through the challenges of dysfunction so that men and women may find and be restored to their created purpose.

If you or someone you love is caught in the stronghold of addiction, there is hope in Christ! Reach out to The Omega Project.


Bring Heart Change to Your Church or Community




Ask us how to bring Heart Change to your congregation or community!


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