American culture is obsessed with dropping the mic. YouTube is overrun with videos of Shapiro or Colbert or Peterson “destroying” or “embarrassing” or “shutting down” some allegedly outwitted opponent. We love the idea of leaving an adversary speechless, their intellectual sails in tatters, the foundations of their confidence shaken and (we like to think) irrecoverable.
If that’s your thing, there’s nothing to see here. But if you’d like to know some biblical ways to fill the room with an unanswerable point, here are four.
1. Love the haters (1 Peter 3:9, 16).
Want to shut down your opponents? Want to leave them speechless, mouth agape, wondering what just happened? Love them. Bless them. Treat them with sincere kindness and respect. Not that condescending, counterfeit, passive-aggressive tone that everyone knows is a subtle insult, or that syrupy, plasticky sweetness that everyone knows is fake. I mean the sincere and practical love of Christ, spilling over from a heart softened by grace. Because love, God tells us, is the ultimate Christian mic drop. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless… having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:9, 16).
2. Do good in society (1 Peter 2:13–17).
Want to shock the world? Shake up people’s view of Christianity? Put up a billboard for Jesus that’s hard to mock? Peter tells us to submit to the authorities God’s put in place to curb evil and promote good (2:13–14). But Peter’s not just telling us to passively follow laws. He’s telling us to do good as citizens (2:15). If you want the kind of influence that hangs in the air after you leave the room, make your mark by doing good in society. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Peter 2:15).
3. Live honorably (1 Peter 2:12).
Want to change the narrative about Christians? Want the scoffing to morph into singing? Want gospel mockery to become gospel praise? Then live honorably in all arenas of life. It’s not easy, because character is fragile, and you have to keep it maintained. But over time, it’s hard to keep shaming an honorable man. And sometimes, when they can’t beat you, they’ll join you. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:12).
4. Stay dignified (Titus 2:6–8).
Want the slander to stop? Want the mockers to go mute? Want the irreverent to become irrelevant? Don’t join the circus of the “raw” and the “real,” working overtime on your persona and wardrobe and lingo to craft that “authentic” aura. Instead, be an example of self-control, integrity, and honorable speech. A dignified man will still be shamed, but eventually the shade will fall back on those throwing it. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us (Titus 2:6–8).
As Christians, we should be eager to make a powerful impact for the gospel we’ve believed. But God’s given us distinctly Christian ways to fill society with that impact. It’s not mainly through clever comebacks or being the smartest guy in the room. It’s through sound Christian character and active Christian commitments and kind Christian relationships, over time. Because when we love our enemies, do good in society, live honorably, and stay dignified, we’re not just dropping the mic and walking out. We’re picking up the gospel, and walking in.