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Date: 06.07.17
Don’t Get in That Tit for Tat


When I first wanted to start a writing and speaking ministry, an acquaintance of mine adamantly insisted that I would be out of God’s will. He quoted 1 Timothy 2:12, and said women were not allowed to even talk in church.

This man loved the Lord. He was very well-meaning. He was also concerned for my well-being and wanted me to be in God’s will. He was very persuasive, persistent, intelligent, well-read and I believe, very wrong. (Note: There are lots of interpretations about what 1 Timothy 2:12 means, but regardless, I didn’t believe that if I used a gift of teaching that I would be out of God’s will.)

This well-meaning man mailed me books to persuade me of his position. One day he said he wanted to discuss the matter with me over the phone. I knew if I stated my opinion, it would turn into a battle over words, a tit for tat about the interpretation of Scripture, which would be unprofitable and hurtful.

I called a trusted counselor to ask for prayer and advice. She warned me: “Don’t wrangle with him.” She knew it would turn into a foolish, stupid argument over words that would have resulted in a quarrel. I am thankful I followed her advice.

Yesterday, I read 2 Timothy 2:14; 23-24 in which Paul instructs Timothy:

“Warn them [the believers in Ephesus] before God against quarreling about words; it has no value and only ruins those who listen . . . Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”

I wish I could say I have always handled situations like the one above with Paul’s wisdom. I haven’t. There have been times I have failed. But this week I had another opportunity to get in a tit-for-tat over words and trivialities while ignoring the command to love. I was reminded what a waste of time, energy, and emotion it would have been, not to mention, foolish.

Why am I telling you all this? It’s because we all have opportunities to argue over small spiritual matters that aren’t worth arguing about. And, I share my story because I hope that maybe through it you’ll be able to navigate your own better and avoid my mistakes.

I also think these words from Paul weren’t just for Timothy; they are for us now as we not only speak, but we text, message, tweet, and post. In a day when the readiness to become easily offended is at an all-time high, it takes wisdom and carefulness to know when and how to insert one’s beliefs or opinion into a conversation. We must remember that the most godly and loving thing to do is to sometimes not say anything at all, especially when dealing with someone who is contentious—and when we do speak to always be kind.

Posted in: Life Challenges

Comments

9 thoughts on “Don’t Get in That Tit for Tat

  1. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. I now make sure my girls know it is sometimes better to say nothing at all. I didn’t realize this early enough in my life. I was surrounded by godly people who, like your friend, was very adamant on their ways. They believed that following Jesus included a list of rules to abide by. It isn’t. When we allow Jesus to fully take over our lives, it becomes 100% about His love. Sometimes we share that love when we are silent. Sometimes we share that love with our voice, like at a speaking engagement. Thank you for the reminder today that I don’t always have to be right and prove my way, but I always have to show love! <3

    1. Hi, Julia.

      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s challenging to know when to speak and when not to speak but I am convinced the Holy Spirit will lead us if we ask. I really like what you said, “it becomes 100% about His love.” Good stuff–and so true. It’s all about the motives of heart.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hi Shana!

    I have to admit that I enjoy an occassional online debate which at times can become a bit contentious. There seems to be a growing divide in the country between red va blue, conservative vs progressive, believers vs the unsaved, global warming vs climate deniers and the list goes on.

    The gulf seems to be growing and the level of hostility escalating. It seems as if cordial disagreement is a thing of the past. I seldom see people honestly try to empathize and explore differing opinions. Much less tolerance these days. A big concern is when the “end seems to justify the means” eg trying to silence free speech via protests and violence.

    Your words today are more important than ever. Despite my difference of opinion I must respect and honor those I disagree with; and hopefully show Jesus’ love through my words.

    Blessings, Ron

  3. Let’s all remember our Lord appointed his very first evangelist -a woman. The woman at the well. Blessings to you

  4. It is so true that quarrels are a waste of time. Each party leaves even more resolute.

    The striking point in 2 Timothy 2 is that quarrelling about words “has no value and only ruins those who listen”

    It doesn’t just affect those who quarrel but it RUIN those who listens.

  5. This help me so much! I thank God for your gift of communicating God’s word in a way that even this “type A” personality receives and understands. Sometimes I have to be reminded that even with the best of intentions I can do more harm than good. More importantly, it’s not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit, says the Lord.
    In Christ’s love,
    Cindy

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  • This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. I now make sure my girls know it is sometimes better to say nothing at all. I didn’t realize this early enough in my life. I was surrounded by godly people who, like your friend, was very adamant on their ways. They believed that following Jesus included a list of rules to abide by. It isn’t. When we allow Jesus to fully take over our lives, it becomes 100% about His love. Sometimes we share that love when we are silent. Sometimes we share that love with our voice, like at a speaking engagement. Thank you for the reminder today that I don’t always have to be right and prove my way, but I always have to show love! <3

    • Hi, Julia.

      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s challenging to know when to speak and when not to speak but I am convinced the Holy Spirit will lead us if we ask. I really like what you said, “it becomes 100% about His love.” Good stuff–and so true. It’s all about the motives of heart.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Hi Shana!

    I have to admit that I enjoy an occassional online debate which at times can become a bit contentious. There seems to be a growing divide in the country between red va blue, conservative vs progressive, believers vs the unsaved, global warming vs climate deniers and the list goes on.

    The gulf seems to be growing and the level of hostility escalating. It seems as if cordial disagreement is a thing of the past. I seldom see people honestly try to empathize and explore differing opinions. Much less tolerance these days. A big concern is when the “end seems to justify the means” eg trying to silence free speech via protests and violence.

    Your words today are more important than ever. Despite my difference of opinion I must respect and honor those I disagree with; and hopefully show Jesus’ love through my words.

    Blessings, Ron

  • Let’s all remember our Lord appointed his very first evangelist -a woman. The woman at the well. Blessings to you

  • It is so true that quarrels are a waste of time. Each party leaves even more resolute.

    The striking point in 2 Timothy 2 is that quarrelling about words “has no value and only ruins those who listen”

    It doesn’t just affect those who quarrel but it RUIN those who listens.

  • This help me so much! I thank God for your gift of communicating God’s word in a way that even this “type A” personality receives and understands. Sometimes I have to be reminded that even with the best of intentions I can do more harm than good. More importantly, it’s not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit, says the Lord.
    In Christ’s love,
    Cindy

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