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.
How do we find peace in this chaotic world?
There is chaos all around us. Anytime I turn on the TV or look at my phone it is swirling around me – from the KKK in Charlottesville, to nuclear threats, to political unrest, to celebrity suicide. And then there is the chaos of everyday life. From getting kids ready for back to school and keeping up with my to-do list.
But my God is a God of peace. And if I focus on Him, all the chaos falls away.
Chaos is nothing new. War, racial tension, family disagreements, and unrest have been here since sin entered the world. God didn’t create us to live in chaos. Our eyes aren’t meant to focus on the worries of the world.
Our eyes should be focused on Jesus.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:7,10
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. Psalms 119:165
Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. Psalms 34:14
How do we find peace in this chaotic world?
- Seek Jesus: Read the Bible every day. #DailyBibleReading
- Do a Self-Inventory: “Am I doing good in the world?” Do something good. Every day. Show kindness to a stranger. Do something loving for a family member. Pray for an enemy.
- Pray: Keep a prayer journal. Take your worries and hurts to Jesus.
- Praise God: Thank Him and praise Him.
Turn off your phone. Open your Bible.