Scripture: Proverbs 9:
7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Observation: When you argue with someone, there is no real prize to be won, and there is much to be lost.
Application: There are so many different doctrines within the spiritual community, and there is always something to disagree on when it comes to our religious beliefs. How should one be baptized? When should one be baptized? Who should be allowed to be leaders in the Church? What should our government do about this or that? How will Christ return? Will Christians endure the great tribulation? Are we in the last days? On and On, there is no end to the areas of contention among believers. I can’t tell you the number of times I myself have fallen into arguments about these and many other topics like these.
What we have to realize is that when we allow ourselves to be pulled into an argument, or when we instigate an argument, we are not being wise. We are inviting insult and abuse, in the worst cases we may even be bringing hatred upon ourselves. This is not to say that we can’t disagree with one another, and discuss those disagreements It is obvious that we are all different, and I believe that God intentionally made us that way and that He loves and operates among those differences. But when we see that our friendly discussion is turning into an argument, it’s better to leave it alone and walk away friends, than to carry it out to the conclusion and leave with bitterness in our hearts.
Dale Carnegie says “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.” Solomon teaches in our scripture that although the wise may accept teaching and instruction, most will retaliate with defensive insults and angry words.
I remember one of my greatest mentors and teachers Rev. Gary Lee once preached a sermon, and this was during my time of study and reflection before I was licensed as a pastor, after his sermon I approached him and said, “Brother Gary, I liked your sermon, but I disagree with you about something.” Brother Gary had two Churches, and I know that he was in a hurry to get to the next service, his answer was short, but kind, and to me its been a wisdom I’ve carried along with me ever since. He answered and said, “That’s Ok, we don’t have to agree on everything.” And he turned around and walked out the door.
At first I felt a little bit insulted because I had been denied my debate, but then I started realizing the wisdom behind what he had said to me. If we have to agree on everything, how will we ever be able to get along enough to follow the command of Christ to love one another? We have to understand that we are each being taught and guided by the same Holy Spirit of God who Jesus promised would be our Comforter and Teacher. If He chooses to reveal Himself to me in a different way than He does to You, who am I to say that your experience and understanding are less than my own?
We may not always agree with each other, and that’s ok – all we really have to do is love one another, and if we ask for wisdom and accept His instruction and teaching, God will guide us in our understanding.
Prayer: Teacher and Comforter,
Help me to be open to your instruction, help me to see the wisdom within my brothers and sisters whom I may not be able to see eye to eye with on all things. Help me to be ready to listen, and prayerful in consideration when it comes to my understanding about spiritual things. Let me ever be ready to hear from you, and teach me father to love more deeply, and to forgive more quickly and teach me to reach out more frequently.
Yield: I surrender my desire to be right all the time in the eyes of everyone around me. I surrender my ego and pride in this.