“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome” 2 Timothy 2:24
It seems like everyone wants to have an argument these days. As believers, conversations with lost family members can become contentious. We even argue with one another over interpretations of Scripture and how church should operate. But followers of Jesus should be able to disagree and still get along; and we certainly won’t argue the lost into Heaven. The bottom line is this—Christians who quarrel aren’t following the example set by Christ.
Think about it…Jesus didn’t quarrel, even with the Scribes and Pharisees. He knew their questions were meant as a launching pad for public debate. So, while He answered sincere questions (John 3), He didn’t get drawn into arguments. Time after time He just walked away because His mission was to seek and to save the lost, not to win a religious debate.
There are too many serious things happening in the world for Christians to quarrel with one another. It’s okay to have different points of view, but there’s no need to argue about it. That doesn’t mean we keep quiet when false teaching is spread (2 Timothy 2:16-18). But how we go about correcting it matters a great deal.
Our manner can actually fuel the argument. And our motive for the conversation determines our tone and demeanor. Paul instructed Timothy, “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:25-26). So, avoid the argument, not the person.
The Bible doesn’t contain talking points to win an argument. Rather, its content has the power to transform how we think and act. And what we say carries more weight when it backs up how we actually live. Christians who quarrel are not edifying the body of Christ or furthering the gospel.
So ask yourself, “What’s my motive for speaking up?” Are you trying to convince someone that he or she is wrong so you can be right? Or, do you want to persuade them to recognize the truth of Scripture? We need to be about the work God has given us to do, which is to share Jesus with everyone we can. When our motives are Christlike, our tone and demeanor will become Christlike, too.