I, like many children, was occasionally prone to silly arguments. Of course in an argument, I knew I was right and of course the other person knew they were right. There always seemed to be a point, though, in these exchanges where all sound reasoning left the area and we reached the pit of intelligence where we volleyed back and forth a good helping of “nhunt-unh’s” and “un-hunh’s”…maybe even tossed in a few “are too’s” and “are not’s”. This usually meant that we were on the precipice of making meaningful and sweeping declarations like, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” “You’re so mean.” “I’m never talking to you again!” And I seem to remember, it was at this point in the melodrama one party would, after making their declaration, follow it with a dramatic exit signaling the finality of the moment.
Sometimes as adults, we still engage in silly arguments. The subject matter may have (or may not have…) become more grown up in nature, but we still try to argue our side back and forth, make our declarations and impacting exits—one last insult, a slammed door, etc. However, this is not how it should be.
In 2 Timothy 2:22-24, Paul instructs Timothy to, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
This can be a hard pill to swallow when we are faced with a person who is quarrelsome or even when we ourselves are the person who incites a conflict or fray, but Paul goes on to explain why we must keep ourselves from quarrels in verses 25 and 26: “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
We should avoid quarrelling period but especially if we are in a position of leadership or if we are discipling others (aka The Great Commission). We must be ready to love non-Christians and those weaker or younger in the faith and ready to instruct gently when their reasoning, their actions, etc is off-base. We cannot do that properly if we engage in quarrelling or especially if our own reasoning and actions are off-base.
Today, let’s consider Paul’s words to Timothy and see where we might need to make changes. Let’s pursue peace with others and be ready to interact with them in a productive and loving way. Let’s make sure that our hearts and minds are in alignment with God’s Word and Spirit so that if the time comes where we need to engage in an instructive and gentle way with others, our motives and reasoning will be on-course.
FBC Aztec Member