When I was a young preacher, and I guess, I young Christian, man I loved a good fight. I really did. Not a physical fight mind you, but a verbal fight. I loved to pick fights with other Christians about my beliefs, unbelievers about faith, anyone with anything.
I was convinced that I was right and they were wrong and part of my job was to prove it! The older I get the more I think of a quote by John Wesley that I once heard, “the older I get the more I account for human weakness.” I’ve always liked that. The older I get, the more I understand my own weakness and the weakness of others.
Now that said, I’ve thought a lot about what I believe and think. And I think I’m right. I really do. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t think I was right.
But here’s the thing. I have nothing to prove. And I really have no need to defend God. He’s a big, huge, enormous God. I think the best defense I can make of God is my life. I like what Paul says today in 2 Timothy 2: 22-25:
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
Paul doesn’t say, hey, let folks be wrong and believe things about God that wrong. Teach truth. Live truth. Grow truth.
There are things and beliefs that are right, and that are wrong. But here’s the thing. Don’t win the argument and embarrass Jesus. Stand for truth and righteousness in a culture that is shifting.
But, don’t “breed quarrels.” Don’t pick fights. Don’t go looking for fights. I used to, and nothing was accomplished.
Today, may our words be seasoned with salt. May we stand for and defend truth. But may our word, our actions, and our hearts declare first God’s great love and grace for a world that is need of Jesus.
And may we not seek so much to win the arguments as we seek to point to Jesus.
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