Today we’ll return to our normal Rooted routine, picking up in 2 Timothy. Our reading is 2 Timothy 2: 14-26:
14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 16 Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.”
20 In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21 All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. 22 Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26 and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
There are certain words Paul uses that always point to something larger. My childhood pastor, Bro. Bill Poole used to always say that anytime there is a “but” in a sentence in Scripture, pay attention.
I feel like perhaps is another word that Paul uses in the same way. In our passage today Paul is talking about our language and how we talk. Don’t wrangle over words, avoid foolish controversy and profane chatter. Don’t be quarrelsome, but be kind to everyone. Be patient, even correct with grace. PERHAPS these you are correcting can be restored and used by God for great things.
Perhaps they can be saved. Restored, forgiven, brought home. Perhaps.
Perhaps implies hope. Perhaps tells us not to give up on anyone. Perhaps tells us that God is not done with them, or with anyone. Perhaps tells us that God is still on the move, still at work, still doing great things. Perhaps.
Don’t give up on them, because God hasn’t. That is why no one is our enemy. To make someone an enemy is to give up on them, to assign them to another area. As hard and as challenging as it may be, we can’t give up on people, we can’t give up on each other. We can’t write folks off, because God hasn’t.
Be nice to each other, even the folks who are wrong. Because, perhaps, God may yet save them. And perhaps, perhaps, He may use you and me to accomplish that great deed. Oh, how great and how marvelous is the love of God!
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