Give It A Rest2 Timothy 2:14-17a(NIV)
14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
2 Timothy chapter 2 Apostle Paul instructs young preacher Timothy in dealing with those who like to argue, fight, and use God as their reasoning, but really they are working against God. (encourage you to read the entire chapter or letter for yourself.)
Paul was encouraging Timothy to remind the people he was dealing with, what was important and to stop arguing about things that were not important, or not truthful. I think this is the biggest enemy of the church today. It's not sin, It's not the world, it's people already in the churches who preach and teach and spew hate, negativity, factions, fighting, arguing, and judging not only toward those outside the church, but mostly toward those who are already christians.
Many church groups, preachers, and christians out there spend the majority of their time trying to debate, argue, or fight with those already saved about issues that aren't salvation related. Instead of trying to love their communities, reach the lost, or discple the christians in their churches to maturity in faith, they spend most of their time trying to "prove" other church groups or christians wrong on issues such as bible versions, church music, dress codes, end of times, spiritual gifts, denominationalism, etc....which are not essential to your salvation or things that base whether you are saved or not, or going to hell or not.
Now, some may argue they are and try to debate. I don't see God or Jesus every trying to argue or debate with people in the Bible? Yet people love and get excited about it, they love to argue, fight, debate, and sadly its really about trying to prove someone wrong and not about being righteous in God's eyes. I think it's healthy to have discussion, not debate. I think that is how we learn and yes we even learn from those we don't agree with or share same convictions, if we allow it to happen.
Paul told Timothy to warn them(christians) about words, and that's what many do today, they want to use words to belittle, argue, tear down, and push their agenda or self-promote! To me this is the opposite of what God wants from us. Yes, we have a right to our opinions, but how can you expect others to listen to your opinions if you do not listen or respect theirs? How does anyone win in an argument? They don't, especially God. There is a time to stand up for truth, to stand up against spiritual bullies, or sin, but if the motive is not the Love and Honor of God then we are doing so with wrong motives or if you can't be unbiased or respectful, then you're heart and motives are wrong.
It is time for each of us to take a long, hard, direct look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves, what or who am I really following or worshipping? If it's God, I do not think we would spend all our time trying to prove others wrong, argue with others, or try to get others to think/feel/believe as we do about our favorite topic/subject. Most of all the very things we are arguing about, are not salvation issues and are not keeping people from God, we are keeping ourselves and people from God when we waste it arguing.
I know many feel we must stand up for God, Hiw Word, and His church, etc..and at times we are to correct and rebuke, but verse also says encourage (2 Tim. 4:2) If we are right about a subject or topic, yet treat someone with disresepct, belittle them, or just looking for a fight, then we are the one who is really wrong. You can be right in subject but wrong in attitude, motivation, or treatment of others. We also got to always keep in mind in some cases, we have liberty/freedom as a christian and we cannot bind or force our personal convictions on everyone!
It is not our job as christians, churches, or even preachers to "POLICE" the world, nor is it our calling to "prove others wrong". Our calling is to preach and teach the Word of God to the best of our knowledge, wisdom, and discernment and be guided by the Holy Spirit and love others as Christ loves us and His church. Yes, there will be times to confront or address sin, and times to try to correct a brother/sister of their lifestyle or choices or thinking, and yes even times to have discussions about certain topics/beliefs/convictions, but never for the purpose to quarrel, argue, or debate with selfish intentions of being right or being superior. I think God deserves better from all of us including pastors, leaders, teachers, church groups, and individual christians.
My plea for today is "Give it a Rest", stop making your life or ministry about a certain subject or topic that's imporant to you or your church group and start making it about loving God, loving others. Make it about seeking and saving the Lost and making disciples, those are things that are essential to our salvation and calling. Not what type of music I listen to or what bible translation I use, or what clothes I wear to church, or what name is on the church sign, or how charismatic, liberal, or conservative my views are on spiritual gifts, end of times, or eternal security.
There will always be issues that we can discuss, dialogue about, and share with each other and yes we can agree to disagree about certain subjects without questioning someones manhood or womanhood, their standing with God, their knowledge, or their intelligence. I think we should all be motivated to be closer to God, understand His Word and Will better, and tap into the power of His Holy Spirit, but never should our motivation or agenda be to argue, quarrel, belittle, or fight.
You can stand for truth and still be respectful, you can disagree with someone and still be brothers/sisters, and you can still love people who love the same God, but differ on intrepretations of certain scritpures on certain subjects. We all can start by focusing more on God and working on our walk/relationship with Him and be our goal to honor and glorify Him on all we say and do and how we treat others and treat His word and the name of "christian" we wear.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NIV)
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 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.