In his famous passage on love, Paul shifts our attention from the what to the how:
"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but have not love, I gain nothing."
He’s not talking about the content of our arguments. He’s talking about the process. For Paul, it is not enough that we do “Christian” sorts of actions, no matter how great they are. We must act in a Christian style — with love.
Christian arguments, then, should reflect this style. They should be patient and kind. They should not be boastful or arrogant or rude.
But the reality of our Scriptures and the reality of our God is that love can — and in some cases, should — be tough. This love sees that there must be space for righteous anger. It recognizes that patience can too easily become a luxury for the privileged. We believe in a God who gets angry on behalf of those he loves. We believe in a Jesus who overturns tables in the temple courts.
The problem is that most readers of this article will applaud at either the thought of a kind, patient argument or at the thought of a tough, angry argument. The trick is to deeply desire both.