I recognize that the title of this blog could bankrupt Fox News and all the other news channels broadcasting on television. They take words, even one word, and will spend hours spinning their perspective arguing with others who disagree. This leaves their audience in the living rooms of America riled up emotionally and highly opinionated. Hey, if you are spending hours quarreling with others, you most likely are not having an edifying conversation that glorifies God. This type of communication is impassioned and articulated to make “me” and “my” perspective look good and knowledgeable. Never forget that once the heartrate is above 99 BPM, the “traffic controller” in your brain, the amygdala, switches interpretation of these highly intense words away from the frontal lobe where logic and understanding reside to the limbic part of your brain which is all about self-preservation and self-centeredness…nothing healthy happens.
God is crystal clear about the way we converse as we interface with the world. Paul straightforwardly told Timothy in his second letter to him in 2:14 to “charge them before God not to fight about words. This is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen.” You can’t get much more candid than this! What percentage of your conversations would stop if you obeyed these instructions? Furthermore, in verse 16, Paul directs believers to “Avoid profane and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness, 17 and their teaching will spread like gangrene…” Gangrene is sepsis and rot. Wherever it spreads, the tissue dies. Physicians have to cut into you carefully to remove all of the gangrene. If not, they have to go back and laboriously clean out the infection…what’s left behind rots. Then, Paul in verse 18 warns that many of them “have departed from the truth”. Verse 22 tells us to “flee youthful passions”. In verse 23, Timothy is to tell Christians to “reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels.”
Then in verse 24, Paul shouts out to Christ-followers, “THE LORD’S SERVANTS MUST NOT QUARREL BUT MUST BE GENTLE TO EVERYONE, able to teach, and patient”…then, he again instructs believers to interface with their “opponents with gentleness.” God desires for His people to interact with their world settled within themselves “speaking the truth with love” in a gentle manner.On the other hand, quarreling is toxic to relationships.
Paul encourages believers to rub up against the world in a sound Godly fashion, “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (v. 22b). He tells us, “If anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (v. 21). Matthew 5:8 declares, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” So, be obedient to God’s word keeping your heart pure, and you will interface with your world as light shining in darkness. “Anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God” (John 3:21).
Flee from quarreling! If not, the results “will spread like gangrene.”