How To Get Those Letters to the Editor Right

By: Gloria Hafemeister
The printed word can be colorful. Think of the articles you’ve read in your local newspaper or national newsmagazine that tickle you pink – and the ones that color you red.

At times, you may wish to respond, offering a Christian perspective. Here are some hints for answering a viewpoint that you find morally threatening or one-sided:

*First, analyze if the principles are debatable in the secular arena. Trying to refute evolution, for example, with Scripture won’t be effective. Christians understand God’s Word, but non-Christians see matters of faith as unfounded and, therefore, unacceptable proof.

*Identify the article and author. By being specific, you allow other readers to refer to the original article, and rethink the author’s points.

*Is your reasoning sound? Statements such as “You’re stupid for believing that” or “Everybody knows that won’t work” aren’t going to help you build a strong case. Avoid name-calling and generalizations not based on fact. Don’t forget to add winning arguments you’ve heard before.

*Set a cordial tone. Remember that the newspaper or magazine isn’t a “target.” Your respect will show – and your letter will get read.

*Compliment where appropriate. If the material contains a point you agree with, say it. That way, you demonstrate you are rational and keep the debate from becoming a “we/they” issue.

*Use personal examples. Speaking from your own experience adds power to your words. Emotional anecdotes can rivet a reader.

Christians aren’t “of this world” but certainly must live in it for now. By taking the time to respond to the printed word, you can put His message in black and white.

(The above material appeared in the January 1992 issue of Focus on the Family.)

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