Winning the Person or Winning the Battle
Do I want to win the person or win the battle?
That is a question I often ask myself when talking with a Mormon. That is a question I often ask other Christians who are dialoguing with Mormons.
It’s an important question because it deals with my attitude. And the answer will often become evident in how I talk, won’t it? Won’t my tone be dramatically different when I’m focusing on winning the person?
That was the case with the prophet Isaiah. The 15th and 16th chapters of his book record the Lord’s judgment on the country of Moab, one of Israel’s long-standing enemies. Therefore you would expect to hear Isaiah speaking with glee. Moab is finally going to be punished! But glee is not what we see. Instead we see sadness. Just a couple of examples: “My heart shall cry out for Moab” (15:5). “Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer.” (16:9). Isaiah announced the Lord’s judgment on Israel’s ancient enemy with a tear in his eye and agony in his voice. It’s obvious he was concerned for them – even though they were enemies.
Whenever I talk with a Mormon I pray that the Lord allows me to do two things. The first is to speak his truth. Never do I want to compromise his truth or even soft pedal it. It’s way too important. I especially want to proclaim the amazing truth that it was entirely Jesus’ work, and not one ounce of my work, that has brought me into a wonderful relationship with Heavenly Father now and gives me the unshakeable confidence that I will live with him for all eternity. Jesus didn’t just open the door for me leaving it up to me to enter and proceed to the Father, as Mormonism proclaims. No, he did it all. It’s especially that truth (and the complementary truth that we needed Jesus to do it all because we are so sinful) that I always want to share.
But I also pray that I share the truth in love. Because of my sinful nature, I need to check to insure that my goal is not to win the battle, but to win the person. That I talk, not with a sense of satisfaction that I’m right and they’re wrong; but rather with sadness when the person doesn’t believe that truth and great joy when they do. I especially pray that the Lord will help me reflect that in how I talk – in my tone, even when that tone is misunderstood.
It is with careful thought that we named our ministry, Truth in Love. It is our desire that this does not just become a nice sounding name for our ministry. Rather we want it to remain our guiding principle whenever we interact with Mormons. God willing, winning the person and not winning every battle will remain our focus.