During many of the historic revivals that took place on this continent some pretty weird things accompanied the work of God during the meetings. One such thing was "the jerks." This was the rapid, involuntary movement of a listener's head and/or limbs. I have often wondered if "the jerks" would appear in my lifetime, and they have. In fact, I'm pretty sure they never went away. I seem to find some jerks in just about every corner of Christianity I look; especially on the internet. One particular manifestation that has been bothering me culminates in an expression I have heard more times than I can recall. I have heard this a lot because some Calvinists are prone to use it, many fundamentalists seem to live by it, and because I used to say it more than anyone I know.
The expression? "My attitude is irrelevant; it's what I am saying that matters."
My guess is you've either heard it or said it. You know how it goes; someone is arrogant, abrasive, or speaks condescendingly, and when challenged on this point the response is often, "Yeah I am caustic, proud and arrogant. So what? That doesn’t change what I am saying! You need to stay on topic." In fact, such people often marvel that no one listens to them outside of their camp.
Some are probably bristling at where I am going. But the bottom line is that our attitude does matter. Our character has an impact on the trustworthiness of our words. One man recently admitted on his blog that he is arrogant and caustic, but that these things do not change the facts of which he writes. Of course he's right on that last point. But his attitude does challenge the integrity of his message.
your message appears dubious when your attitude is so unlike the God you claim to speak of and forLook, being right is not an excuse for being a jerk. Pride and arrogance (things God hates) damage your reputation and you lose credibility. In other words, your message appears dubious when your attitude is so unlike the God you claim to speak of and for. The end result is not only that you fail to win an argument or change someone's mind, but that you undermine the the very truth you love so much. You may be the undoing of your own point.
I agree that ad hominem arguments are usually not worth rebuttal, and detract from the issue under consideration. But for those whose attitudes are at odds with the truth or God they speak of, change (repentance) is necessary.