I get in disputes easily.
Not a fact I am proud of, but a fact nonetheless. It's difficult for me to respect others' opposing opinions and share mine kindly. Does anyone else struggle with this?
Before my youth pastor moved away, he talked about the importance of unity within the church. Because, hello, if the church isn't unified, why would nonchristians want to be a part of the church?(when I'm saying "the church" in this context, I mean the body of Christ - the believers) If we're all fighting and getting up in each other's faces and focusing on making sure they know we're right, how on earth can we focus on the things of God? How can we live a godly lifestyle when the people we are supposed to be unified with are in a dispute with us?
There's a story in the Bible about two women in the church, Euodia and Syntyche, who were fighting. Paul knew that unity is an important thing, and so he pleaded with them in Philippians 4:2:
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord
He called them out and pleaded with them to be of the same mind in the LORD. Verse 3 says:
Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
The other day, one of my friends and I were in a small dispute. I was trying to think of how to reply to a comment she had made to me, and I thought of a verse in 2 Timothy 2 that I had read in my Sword Study for Bible Bee. It says this:
Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. (2 Timothy 2:14)
I realized that quarreling is immature and unnecessary. I'm not saying that if two people discuss opposing views they are fighting. I am not saying it is wrong to express your opinion. No! What I'm saying is that we need to present our opinions in a kind way and respect others' opinions, even if we don't agree with them. I think it is perfectly alright (and GOOD most of the time) to debate about issues like abortion. (it gets me fired up and angry just thinking about it!) However, how we act and what we say should be done with the love of Christ. I don't think God ever intended for His people to cut each other down instead of build each other up. I don't think God ever intended for His people to backtalk about each other, gossip about each other, and fight with each other. I think God intended for His people to be unified, working towards the same purpose - glorifying God and showing His light to others. And - take it from someone who knows - bickering and disputing does NOT do that.
I get in disputes easily.