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“Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” (2 Timothy 2:14 NIV)
Quarreling is of no value.
When our conversations turn from a debate into a quarrel, no one is listening. For instance, the first Presidential debate of 2020 turned into three men quarreling and no one listening. Instead of having an intelligent conversation, the discussion deteriorated into interruptions and name-calling. The candidates weren’t listening to each other or the moderator. No one was listening. Nothing of value occurred.
Today’s scripture begins a section of Timothy’s letter entitled “Dealing with False Teachers.” We aren’t to quarrel with false teachers, because it does no good. Why? Because engaging in an unproductive conversation with a false teacher is godless chatter:
“Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” (2 Timothy 2:16 NIV)
Godless chatter leads nowhere.
Just like the Presidential debate led nowhere, godless chatter does the same thing. Not only do frivolous words lead to a dead-end, but they also pull you away from God.
Recently, I heard a heartbreaking story. A husband made a wrong financial decision. Embarrassed to tell his wife, he tried to hide his mistake. One lie, then another, followed by another until they were in financial ruins. The tragedy, his wife, had no idea; she trusted her husband with the finances. Lies and godless chatter go hand in hand.
Ironically, I’m guessing the husband didn’t tell the wife because he didn’t want to argue with her. Having constructive conversations that lead to restoration of the relationship is different than quarreling. If you disagree with someone about something that has no resolution, you’re quarreling. Ending a quarrel means agreeing to disagree.
When we are dealing with false prophets, the same applies. Your efforts to change their thinking are fruitless:
“Their teaching will spread like gangrene…They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:17-19 NIV)
God knows the truth in all things. He knows who the false prophets are, as well as who the next President is. In His time, He reveals truth to us. His word stands the test of the ages, again and again. Applying Jesus’s teachings to our lives illuminates the false teachers quickly. We don’t need to quarrel because God reveals the truth.
Quarreling wastes time and energy. Agreeing to disagree is fine. Don’t let a desire to win stop you from loving. Our job isn’t to convince; it’s to love.
Question of the Day:
What quarrel needs to stop in your life?