Give me a word, Lord: WE DON’T HAVE TO ATTEND JUST BECAUSE WE WERE INVITED

2 Timothy 2: 14 Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.

Philippians 2:2-5 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

There is an old saying that tells us, “You don’t have to attend every argument that you are invited to.” I think that is something that we would all do well to remember. There are people who will come and go in and out of our lives who love to argue. In the south, we call these people “pot stirrers” because they are constantly stirring the pot. If there isn’t an argument brewing, a pot stirrer will stir one up for you. Some people aren’t happy in a nice peaceful environment so they will bring up something that leads to an argument. They really know how to pour salt on to a wound. They are most happy when there is an argument ongoing. God did not design His children to be pot stirrers, and He doesn’t intend for us to attend every argument that we are invited to.

Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy that we must stop fighting over words. He tells us that such arguments are useless, and they can ruin the people that are hearing them. Let’s consider this for a moment. How can our arguments ruin the people that are hearing them? Well, my friends, for the most part, arguing is just plain bad, and if we aren’t careful, a simple argument could destroy our Christian witness. Now, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t supposed to stand up for what we know is biblically sound and right, stand up for our belief in Christ, or stand up for those who can’t. However, we must always do so with the loving attitude of Christ.

If we read a little more of this chapter we are told to avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer. Read that again. We are instructed to avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer. It spreads like cancer?! Wow! It only takes one little spark to start a fire, one cancer cell to begin the spread of cancer, and one spoken word to begin an argument. But remember, as I said earlier, just because we have been invited to the argument does not mean we have to attend.

I have four beautiful children whom I love so much, and each child (now adult) has his or her own personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Each one has their own individual quirks and tendencies. One of my sons grew up with a passion for arguing. He loved to argue. He would argue with a wall if it would entertain him. If I said black, he would say white. If I said the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, he would point out a cloud in the distance. Yes, that boy loved to argue. I often told him that he would make a great lawyer. As a mom, I made the mistake early on of attending almost every argument this child invited me too…way more often than I should have. Why? I wanted to teach him what was right…at least what Mama thought was right. However, my “teaching” often turned into arguments, and the only lesson that was learned was that arguing with someone you love is never fun. It’s hurtful. Even if you feel like you won the argument, at what cost did you win? What price did you pay? Respect was lost. Love was not shown. And in the end, someone always leaves an argument feeling defeated.

As I have matured (still not there yet but working on it), I slowly realized that arguing with this kid was not getting either one of us anywhere. I learned to pick and choose my battles carefully. I learned to lean on the Lord for guidance. I learned to pray, and believe me, I prayed a lot. I’ll be the first to admit that it is not easy to walk away from an argument, but I will also be the first to admit that walking away from an argument will many times improve a relationship. Most of the time, if we take a few steps back and walk a few steps away, we have time to gather our thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us before we respond and spew out words that could be harmful. Take a step back, count to ten, and say a prayer before responding to an argument. You might just be surprised how much of a difference this makes.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. (Philippians 2:14-16) In a world full of pot stirrers, as Christians we should strive to be peacemakers. We must continue to be the beacon of light that this dark world is missing. We are to reflect the light of Christ in our actions and deeds. Don’t let your tongue dim your light, my friend. Shine brightly for our Savior. Don’t show up for an argument merely because you were invited. We can graciously decline those invitations, and we can lovingly reflect the light of the Lord rather than dim that light. Hold firmly to the word of Life!

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