“But foolish and unlearned (ignorant) questions (disputes) avoid, knowing that they do gender (generate) strifes.”2 Timothy 2:23
I have had more arguments in my lifetime than I can count. I look back to my earlier days and I shake my head at how ignorant I was. I was always ready to argue for what I thought or believed, and I was always looking for someone to challenge me. I said things that were controversial just to get a rise out of people, and I would never concede an argument even if it was revealed that I was wrong. I look back to those who had to put up with this nonsense, and I admire their patience, love, and longsuffering they had for me. I wish I could go back and change all that nonsense, but I hope I have learned from those earlier times.
I recently went out to a meal with someone I had not seen in quite some time. I listened about 90 percent of the time, and I spoke the remaining ten percent. I was not bothered by this as I was able to enjoy my food as I listened. This person spoke about issues and concerns they had, and as I listened intently, I heard of various problems in this individual’s life on both a personal level and a spiritual level. As I sat there, I began to hear a common theme amongst the hardships this individual was facing.
I began to notice this person was the common denominator in all of these stories or hardships. I once heard a preacher say that there is no one is this life that will give you more problems than the person you look at in the mirror every morning. We often point the finger at others instead of taking an honest look at ourselves and asking God to search our hearts. The sad thing is that people often have fractured relationships with other believers simply because they were not willing to agree to disagree. Relationships were discarded because one was not willing to walk away from an argument or simply forgive another for a trespass or disagreement. When we reflect on these past failures, we often find the price that was paid to be “right” was far too great, and eternity will only tell the impact of what that relationship could have been.
I understand we have convictions and beliefs that we hold to, and I am not saying to compromise on those things if that is where God has led you. However, we must obey the Word of God and avoid those things that bring about strife and drama. We must avoid arguments that will cause division and not bring about a fruitful resolution. One may think Paul wrote the book of Hebrews while another may argue that the text does not say who the author was. Arguments such as these are not worth the breath because they will cause unnecessary division and we are commanded to avoid these types of arguments. I love beef, but it belongs on a plate and not in the church amongst believers.
Do you have “beef” with someone today? Are you guilty of arguing over something that the Bible tells us to avoid? Are you the common denominator in all of your problems? Have you asked God to search your heart and reveal to you the sin in your own life? Are you willing to humble yourself and go to your fellow believer and make things right? May God help us to avoid these foolish spats, and may we use that energy to instead tell others about the love of Jesus Christ. May we be the solution and not the problem.