Lose debates for God’s sake!?

“You know what is going to make Christ look valuable? When you sacrifice for the good of others. So it looks to them that you must have treasure in some place else than in your stuff.” ~John Piper

Yes, this is good in speaking about material things, but what about concepts? When I lay down my “right to be ‘right’” or my “right to have the last word” or my “right to be bitter” in order that conflict subsides, it shows that I have treasure elsewhere. It shows that I find my rights in the Peace* and Truth** that is unshakeable. My value does not lay in myself always having the final say or always being right or always having control. I don’t need these things because my value comes from the facts that God will have the final say, God is always right, God is in charge. And God and I are on the same side.

When I quit debating, quit participating in petty quarrels, quit enabling discord in discussions and do this in order to keep the peace, to avoid chaos, I am pointing to a source higher than me. (We are never denying Truth, but knowing He will not change whether we win a debate or not.) I am saying This, ☝, This is the Person whose opinion I care about. And there is reward and blessing over that.

Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” This is how we get the name of “son,” the name of “daughter.” It is because we are pointing back to our Father. He wants children in line with His heart not quarrelsome with one another.

2 Timothy 2:22-26, “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. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

Whoa! Did you catch that? Verses 22-23 are nice and all. They are quite simple directions; not simple in the sense that they are easy to follow, but in the sense that they are stated plainly and without much need to question what they mean. But verse 24 is where the meat lies. “Patiently endure evil.” Really?! {insert Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler from SNL} Really, God?! You want me to patiently endure evil? When there are lies spreading around in a debate, you want me to be patient and endure evil? What about Jesus’ smack down in the temple? He turned tables, why can’t I? Because we are called to live in the way of Love. Because patience is an aspect of love. We must love like God in a way that allows patience. We can wait on God’s will and know that He will step in when necessary. When instances and conversations lock horns, we need to step back and endure patiently.

Then, and only then, the instructions say to correct one’s “opponents with gentleness.” Ahh. This is so how Jesus works! We see it when the Pharisees bring the adulterous woman before Jesus in John 8. Jesus could have immediately given a snappy comeback to the Pharisees. But instead He first knelt down and drew in the sand. The Bible does not tell us what He wrote, because it is not of significance. But it shows that Jesus paused. He gave the Pharisees time to soak in what they asked Him. He gave them time to come to the correct conclusion on their own. He endured patiently. Perhaps He too needed the pause to align His heart with the Father’s gentleness, despite the fact He had every right to have righteous anger at the Pharisees. Then, and only then, with gentle love in His heart, He got up and spoke wisdom in peace. And none of the Pharisees could debate the Truth.

This is the God we point to and say He is always right. He is always in charge. He is always just. He is always holy.

This whole process is hard, it can be angering. We want to fight for justice. We want to speak out the Truth. These are good desires; they match with the character of God. But if they come from pride they are being twisted by Satan. If they are not accompanied with gentleness and patience, they are not aligned with God. If this angers you, step back and ask God why, because it is His Word that is inciting you…

The saying goes “talk is cheap.” We desire action. (Note: It is from an overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks.) But going into action can be just as cheap, if the heart behind it is not pure. Action is not always the proper response- patient endurance, of the fact that people will be ensnared by the devil and that we live in a fallen world, then gentle correction with the knowledge that God will return and vengeance will be His.

This brings Hope. The process points us to God. It makes us peacemakers, which gives us the name “son” or “daughter.” Laying down these little things in debates brings such a great return! Let us be peacemakers!

________________

*“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:25-27

**“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

***This is not to come against the Great Commission- we are always to lead others to Christ, we must though remain calm like Jesus and sometimes we doodle in the sand until we are able to get in the correct mindset and heartset to guide with gentleness.

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About megannet

I am a self-motivated multimedia journalist seeking a career in the creative film and documentary industry. I am a recent graduate of Kent State University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism.

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