2 Timothy 2:24 “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
It masquerades as communication but leads us to polarization. It elevates our need to convince others above our need for truth. We are warned it “ruins” all who participate in it. Yet in our culture, especially through social media, it has risen to new heights. Quarrelling.
Quarrelling differs from discussion. Respectful discussion stems from a desire to discern the truth. Quarrels originate from a desire to get what we want (James 4:1-2). We use words to prove we’re right; we’re the smart ones; the ones who should be listened to. Once we start quarrelling, our positions harden. We push others into corners while backing into our own. Love and respect disintegrates in the process, whether in our families, in politics or in the church.
The late Chuck Colson suggests in his book My Final Word, the reason the church falls into traps of quarrelling is because we’ve adapted a “peacetime mentality.” We fail to recognize we are at war. War with Satan and with a world who hates everything we stand for. Our quarrels with one another keep us from fighting against the real enemy of our souls. Colson says if we really understood this we would be taking bullets for each other, not quibbling over things that in the end don’t matter. We simply don’t have time to quarrel!
Paul warns us not to quarrel. He says we are to extend kindness and gentleness toward those who disagree with us. He knew “foolish and stupid arguments” that lead to quarreling would never win someone to the cause of Christ. When the world sees Christ-followers fighting each other, we lose the war. How are we reflecting the Lord when our Facebook feeds and Twitter accounts degrade and disrespect those who think differently, but who fall within the arc of God’s mercy?
The Church may be imperfect, divided and battered. But the Apostles’ Creed declares we believe in the Church as we believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Let’s not separate ourselves by indulging in senseless quarrels. Instead, let’s do all we can to foster unity and love. We may be running out of time.