Beautiful Debate

By Cindy Koch

There is something beautiful about a debate. Even if it is with the tiny mind of a two-year-old, it is a valuable and precious conversation. The exchange of ideas, as eloquent or as basic as it may be, requires both people to be introspective. Why do I think this? Why does she think that? How can I get someone else to see my point? Maybe, possibly, I am wrong. The questions and tactics flow back and forth, from passion to passion. And there is a true beauty in the discussion.

I have the honor to debate with teenage girls on a regular basis. Now, it’s not as controlled and composed as you may think. Usually, there are tears and possibly some screams, sometimes a door slam, and you will definitely find the standard rolling of the eyes. And yes, sometimes it is me. But through the entire ordeal, through the anger and the love, we all end up finding out a little more about ourselves. The debate, the conversation, the discussion, is most often not easy. But it is tremendously treasured.

Just yesterday we sat together in a pew on the celebration of the Reformation. A slice of history around 500 years ago, that discussion and debate about the hope of the Christian faith fueled the fire. Scholars, churchmen, political leaders, and even peasants were engaged in a meaningful conversation, be it with words, with writings, with decrees and excommunications, with pitchforks and passion. The Reformation was an incredible conversation that required the church and its members to be introspective about the Word of God and what it meant for them. I looked at my daughters, who were half paying attention to the sermon – the gifts of forgiveness handed right into their ears – and considered just what this old, historic Reformation was to them.

We continued the morning, drinking coffee and saying “hi” to all of our friends at church. But I still wondered. Does the Reformation still impact these girls? Does it mean anything more than a nice Lutheran story? Is a day like today even a blip on their radar?

But as soon as I sat down with these same teenage girls after church, I looked around our table into their wide, curious eyes, ready to debate. They threw experiences and feelings on the table. We read the Word of God and were shocked at our misunderstandings. We struggled with a story of love and sacrifice from the outside. We went back to the source for our hope and comfort in Christ alone. I could see the discussion rage in their hearts and minds – on the verge of tears, reconsidering everything they knew to be true about themselves and the world around them. And then, I just said the same thing that was remembered in the Reformation – by no merit of your own you are loved, and you are freely forgiven on account of Christ alone.

There is something truly beautiful about a debate. It is the soul of the Reformation. Our darkened hearts consistently hide in shame from the Savior that requires nothing from us. Our selfish mind keeps forgetting that the battle for our freedom has already been won. But the pure and lovely Word of God will have its way in our conversations. Christ has already right now restored you to life. So until He returns, the debate must not end.