They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Titus 3:2
My siblings and I quarreled frequently over petty things like a brother having his leg touching “my seat” in the car; a little sister touching my stuff; a sibling “looking” at me (seriously, how is that an offense? My girls get mad about the same thing!).
I’ve noticed in my #DailyBibleReading a command to “avoid quarreling” today as well as a few days ago, so I’m giving this seemingly simple – even childish – concept a bit more thought and study.
- The original Greek for that verse is: ‘To Be “Amachos” (peaceable) and “Epieikēs” (gracious).’
- Other verses translated “Quarreling” from the Greek word “Eris” (altercation, strife, contentious disposition).
- Strife: “Angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues, conflict” (Dictionary.com)
The Bible is full of strife. There was strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot’s livestock. The Israelites fought among themselves. There was quarreling in the early church.
Today is no different. Read the Facebook comments on any post on a hot topic. Over the last two days, my Facebook feed has been full of posts about NFL players kneeling at games, Donald Trump, etc. Reading through the posts and comments is pretty depressing, no matter what side you are on. Hate and anger dominate so much of discussion . . . regardless of the topic.
I’ve made comments or occasionally posted to stir up discussion or make a point . . . but does it ever lead to peace? In the Bible, “strife” is listed along with sins like murder and sexual promiscuity.
Paul is pretty clear that strife/quarreling are not godly: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 (italics/bold added for emphasis)
Christians are to be known by their love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. We should avoid altercation and strife. This is a real struggle – how do I stand up for my beliefs and/or influence public discourse without causing strife? How do I fight injustice without causing quarrels? By even writing this blog post am I adding to the strife in the world?
As a Christian, how am I called to respond? I don’t have all the answers, but I do have at least one. I am called to Love.
What is the loving response?
- To the NFL player kneeling during the anthem? Love Him
- To Donald Trump cursing at the players? Love Him
- To the people on Facebook bashing Donald Trump? Love Them
- To the people on Facebook protesting the NFL? Love Them
My battle isn’t against flesh and blood and my calling isn’t to judge or to solve all the world’s problems. My two greatest commands are to Love God and Love Others. And my Facebook activity should reflect that.