Ethics of Discussion

These are some guidelines I wrote up in a post for January 3, 2010. I hope they challenge and bless you as they for me.

–Since God says “you shall rebuke, yes rebuke, your fellow” (Lev 19:7), I will consider it important to challenge harmful ideas and actions, but in a manner consistent with love as shown below.

–Believing that “love without criticism is not love” (Genesis Rabbah 54:3) and “faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov 27:6), I will speak gently but truthfully, considering the person I am challenging as a friend and not an enemy.

–Since I must be more concerned with the speck in my eye (Matt 7:3) I will consider myself unworthy of merciless judgment, especially knowing the mercy of my Creator.

–So that others will not think I condone a harmful idea or action, I will not let it go without a challenge.

–I will make it my goal to overlook personal slights since he who forgives an offense seeks love (Prov 17:9).

–I will always seek to correct myself before I correct others (Talmud, Bava Mezia 107b).

–I will seek to correct others gently, patiently, and if possible to avoid embarrassing, privately.

–I will try to be winsome in challenging others, believing that “the righteous person comes with pleasant, gentle words and draws people to Torah” (Midrash Proverbs 10:20).

–Confine criticism to specific words and actions; do not generalize. (For example, do not say, “why do you speak hatefully?” implying that someone habitually does so).

–Ask myself, “Am I being fair or am I exaggerating?”

–When criticized or challenged, I will not be defensive, but will consider and admit partial or complete wrongs.

–I will regard all people I discuss with as sharers in God’s image and likeness and as potential teachers.

–I will practice the rule of love given by our Messiah: treat others as I would want to be treated (Matt 7:12).


4 Responses to Ethics of Discussion

  1. pastorjeffcma says:

    Do I love that! While I have not written a statement of that nature I have many times had to address the whole tone of conversation. I have found when I do that then very important interactions can ensue. However, your point by point clarification is wise indeed.

  2. Hi Derek, I love this info on Ethics of Discussion. I am starting a brand new blog here as well and as a first time blogger am wondering if you’ll allow me to ‘borrow’ the above ethics as long as I denote they are your words???? Please let me know as I’m trying to get my blog set up. Thanks so much.

  3. This makes a pleasant change!! I am always being hated for actually having a position and stating it!!


  4. John Bolton says:

    Derek, I am responding to your invitation to discuss the “divinity/deity” of Yeshua.

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