Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV).
Let it be. That was the subject of a recent devotion my wife and I did. Now, you know I’ve confessed to arguing over dumb things on Facebook. Most of them are political, and it’s unlikely that neither my opponents nor I will be changing our views. Except for letting allies know they aren’t alone, such arguments are foolish, stupid, unproductive. Yet I continue to make them, though less and less. Perhaps I’m beginning to see the wisdom of Paul’s command in these verses.
Mainly I don’t want to be a quarrelsome servant of the Lord. I don’t resent the people with whom I disagree, but I do understand that such long-term useless quarrels do eventually morph into resentment. How do we stand up for good things in which we believe without becoming insulting or hurtful? After all, it isn’t wrong to stand up against someone who hates Jews or minorities or gays or others, but it becomes wrong if, in standing up, we become insulting or depart from the truth into mere opinion. It isn’t wrong to stand up against the senseless violence political street factions have recently caused, but it becomes wrong if we let it evolve our opposition into desires for counter-violence or retribution.
In other words, things become wrong when we depart from God’s peace. God desires for us to live peaceful lives, sharing and growing peace in Him, which is the only real peace there is. Giving us His peace is central to Christ’s salvation. If not to share God’s true presence with us, Christ came for this reason. Only through Him can we find the peace that lasts, both here and in eternity. It is only through modeling His behavior that we can spread peace.
Sometimes that means standing up in silence; sometimes it means standing as the angry, righteous Jesus against true wrongdoing. Sometimes we have to flee. We must do our parts to vanquish the wrongdoing but then also extend Christ’s peace to the wrongdoers, lest we become them ourselves.
So perhaps the best thing to do with most of our political, cultural, and even moral rot is to let it be. It isn’t that these things are unimportant. It IS that God Almighty is much stronger than they are. He knows what He’s doing and He gave us the mission to spread His peace and love to others who don’t know about it. He can handle the rest. When the opportunity to argue arises, instead, let it be.
For further reading: 1 Timothy 3:2-3, 2 Timothy 2:25.
Good Lord, forgive me for how I have failed to sow peace. Forgive me for when I’ve shared in stupid quarrels. Only You can restore me and instill real peace.