It seems loving to try to answer every single question every single person has, but it is definitely not wise.
It’s not wise because there is a kind of person who just doesn’t learn.
No matter how long you talk with him. No matter how persuasive you are. No matter how much research you’ve put into your arguments.
He won’t benefit from them.
He’s unable to and his inability to benefit from what you are saying has nothing to with his natural intelligence, either. It has everything to do with his heart.
He’s a scoffer.
Solomon says, “Scoffer is the name of the arrogant, haughty man, who acts with arrogant pride.” (Proverbs 21:24) And one of the ways that arrogant pride reveals itself is the fact he won’t pay attention to someone who tells him he is wrong.
Proverbs 13:1, “A scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”
Which means, if you find yourself in a disagreement with someone who is a scoffer, before you even respond, he’s got one clear criteria for evaluating your argument, is he making me look good?
It’s not about the quality of the argument. It’s not about the proofs you offer up. It’s got nothing to do with that, because that’s not the scoffer’s agenda. The scoffer is proud and as a proud person he has one thing he wants most, and that’s to make himself look important and smart and good, at all costs and, if the person talking isn’t saying something he thinks does that, he goes on the attack.
If you won’t make him look good, he has to make himself look good, and the way he tries to make himself look good, is by trying to make you look bad.
Which is why Solomon says,
“Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.” (Proverbs 9:7)
No matter how much he might claim objectivity, he’s not objective, and proof of that is the fact that he has to be so mean. He doesn’t just disagree with the person talking to him, he seeks to injure that person, and the reason he wants to injure that person is because he hates him.
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you.” (Proverbs 9:8)
And the fundamental reason the scoffer will hate you for rebuking him is because you aren’t buying the lie he has spent his life trying to sell himself and everyone else, which is, that he’s the hero of the universe.
Which, I think, is part of what makes it difficult to know how exactly to love him. I mean, how do you love someone who seems to define love as bowing down and worshiping him?
Sometimes it seems the only thing you can do is drive him out.
At least that is what Solomon tells us.
“Drive out a scoffer and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.” (Proverbs 22:10)
Which seems harsh, but love protects, and loving the people around you might mean, you have to make difficult decisions about the one who is scoffing, but those difficult decisions shouldn’t keep you from praying, because while you may not be able to answer a scoffer’s arguments in a way that he can benefit from, you can hope that one day his own folly will break him enough, to change the attitude of his heart, so that’s he’s ready to learn.
You hope that, because you can be sure, if he isn’t brought to that point, there is a day coming, when that scoffer will receive an answer from God, and that answer will be punishment.
“For the ruthless shall come to nothing, and the scoffer cease, and all who watch out to do evil shall be cut off, who by a word, make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.” (Isaiah 29:20,21)