Very often a “Christian” would pretend to ask you a question, but his only interest is in arguing with you in order to vindicate himself. Each person might have his own psychological issue, but whatever it is, he hopes to derive some satisfaction from such a transaction. He has no intention to listen to you or to accept what God says. He has made up his mind to affirm his redacted gospel no matter what. I would often move along quickly from someone like this, but if I address him I sometimes cut deep. I would expose him, sometimes to witnesses, but always to himself (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).
He wishes to refute the Lord using me as the proxy. He wishes to make me the clown. He wants entertainment, or an endless debate, or victory in order to obtain assurance, or some such thing. I often avoid conflict, but once I begin I would stab him in the heart over and over again. This would often produce permanent psychological trauma that only rebirth can repair. Since this is the opposite of what he expects, the spiritual whiplash multiplies the effect even more. This is sometimes the proper way to respond. We see that Jesus did it, and the prophets and apostles did it. Someone like Stephen also did it. If you manage to achieve this, you might so devastate the person’s psyche that he becomes intensely resentful, and he would continue to push forward against you to rescue his own identity. He might become obsessed with you and attack you in public. He might spend more time on you than even you think you are worth! He wants to kill you, but it is really to save himself.
He craves your attention, because every time you react it gives him hope that he can return to the beginning and obtain a different outcome. He wants to keep talking until he wins. Yet when you respond, you cut him again and again. He tells himself that he has won, but he knows that this is false, and so he keeps coming after you. If he tries to forget you, the Spirit of God still haunts him. He goes insane and lashes out once more. His repulsion against the truth has so warped him that hating you has become his new identity. Now he needs you. You have forgotten about him, but now even your silence continues to hurt him deep inside. He is butchered alive from within. The word of God will not leave him alone. So he hardens his heart, and he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, even though God has made the truth plain to him. Therefore God gives him over to a depraved mind, so that he becomes worse and worse. To drown the noise, he bans together with others who also ought to know the truth, but nevertheless persist in error and approve of his unbelief.
Prolonged struggle produces no profit. Since this person is lost to his error and obstinacy even before he talks to you, only that you have exposed his condition and aggravated his wickedness, and since the one who is occupied in serious ministry is much more valuable than someone like this, if you engage him too much you would be the one who suffers the greater loss. Sometimes it is right to do it, and the man would repent or it would serve the gospel in some way, but often it is bad business. There is a significant overhead, and you get nothing out of it. See through the deception and cut him off (Matthew 7:6).