Throughout my life, I have seen a lot of people who have held grudges about the stupidest things. It can often happen that while defending a belief, you might get your feelings hurt. You need to realize that holding onto your beliefs and protecting them against other viewpoints is going to happen (or should anyway) and you will be challenged. Arguing and debating should be a common practice. Remember though, that you can argue, debate, and even yell at someone, but still show them, love.
Realize that mercilessly shutting down a point of view of someone else is going to hurt their feelings. People often wrap their identity up in their beliefs and because of that, they will take what you say as a personal attack, even if you only attack their point of view, idea, or belief. Arguments should never be focused on attacking a person, but on attacking the ideas. At times, it can even help to point this out to folks you are in the middle of a debate with.
“Look, I’m not attacking you, I’m attacking your ideas. You aren’t stupid, but what you are saying is, and here’s why…”
Make sure to focus on the idea, belief, or statement being made by the other party. If you begin attacking the person themselves, you have lost the argument. Give it up and go home. Lick your wounds and next time prepare better. Learn why you believe what you believe and research the other side. Know their typical arguments and thoughts. Be ready with concrete ideas on how to do things and think of things differently.
In the end, forgive those who disagree with you and attack you. It’s going to happen. You have to let it go. There are many people who I have debated with in the past that are dead wrong in their beliefs and have gotten so upset at me (for attacking their beliefs) that they have ruthlessly attacked me personally, even so far as one man threatening to “knock me on my back” the next time he saw me.
Forgive them. Even if they don’t ask for it.
If someone truly wrongs you. If someone indeed attacks you. If someone really hurts you. Forgive. That doesn’t mean you lie down and take abuse; you can fight back. You can defend yourself, even physically if need be, but in the end, forgive. Forgiveness is not about what they have done to you, it’s about trusting God to take care of you in spite of what they have done. Trust God and trust that he has your best interests at heart.
D. Michl Lowe