Thursday, June 25

Don’t quarrel

Scripture: Jonah 1-4, 2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2:14 Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.

2 Timothy 2:23–25 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Observation/application

Stop fighting over words.  Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments.  

This was Paul’s advice to young pastor Timothy, and it’s good advice for us today, especially now!  One friend said, “It’s like everyone is soaked in gasoline, and all it takes is one spark to set off a conflagration!”  Everyone is on edge: a pandemic and quarantine, an economic crisis, and racial tension.  Say something wrong—even slightly—and you’re cancelled!  

In the midst of this volatile and toxic environment, Paul’s advice is timely.  The Lord’s servants—that’s you, that’s me—must not quarrel.  Don’t be argumentative.  Instead, be kind to everyone, be able to teach (gently), and be patient with difficult people.  

Last weekend, we dealt with some angry people—both inside and outside the church.  I had to remind myself that everyone is on edge and it doesn’t take much to set them off.  And I had to remind myself that we—Jesus’ followers—are to be different.  We’re not to quarrel, but be kind to everyone, even those who oppose us.  We’re to be patient with difficult people.  We’re to exude grace.

So the next time you feel yourself being drawn into an argument—or feel like starting one—take a deep breath, pray, ask God to help you.  And then don’t take the bait.  

Be kind.  Everyone is having a hard day!

Prayer: Lord, help me, help us to be filled with your grace and love, and to give that away instead of insults, arguments and criticism.