What Christians need to understand is that there is a difference between sharing our beliefs with others and condemning others for theirs. If someone admits to you that she has had an abortion, the worst thing you can do is to condemn her for having done so. Why? Condemnation immediately puts the other person on the defensive. If she was inclined to agree with you (she now believes abortion is wrong), she may not be willing to admit it to someone who is not compassionate and loving.

In order for change to take place, one needs to feel convicted. Condemning others for something they have done wrong doesn't convict them. Condemnation may only make them feel attacked, which is more of an intellectual event. Conviction is a reaction of the heart.

EMOTIONAL

When something you believe in means so much to you, it can be very difficult to remain calm while others poke fun at your beliefs. It can be especially difficult when that belief is questioned and mocked over and over with the sanction of the media and your government. But let's look at what happens when we allow ourselves to get emotional.

Emotions may communicate that you are defensive, angry, out of control, sensitive, touchy or even childish. It leaves people questioning, not only your beliefs, but your well-being, your stability and your objectivity. Often people can mistake emotion for a lack of corroborating evidence. They may believe that if you had a preponderance of evidence to back up your claims, you would not have to resort to becoming emotional.

The best thing to do when discussing controversial issues is to remain calm. Avoid raising your voice or looking annoyed. Think of it as an opportunity to discuss and share rather than a confrontation. The funny thing is that if you can maintain your emotional stability in a discussion, you can often avoid having the other person get too emotional.

We Christians are different and we should stand out in a crowd, but we should stand out in a way that shines positive light on Christ Jesus. We are often seen as weird, pushy, intolerant, judgmental, silly or emotional, but by practicing these few communication tips we can change that perception.

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JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication. Her Christian and humorous approach to communication skills has made her a sought-after speaker. She is the author of the Say What You Mean communication curricula, and has had articles published in various homeschool magazines and Web sites. Her newest study, Say What You Mean: Defending the Faith, is now available. JoJo and her husband live in Southern California where she homeschools their two children. For more information, please visit www.ArtofEloquence.com

This article was originally published in the May/June '07 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine, a national publication dedicated to encouraging and equipping Christian homeschoolers. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com