Friday, December 21, 2012

Learning to be Kind to All

"And the Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome, 
but be kind to all, 
able to teach, patient when wronged, 
with gentleness correcting those who are 
in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance 
leading to the 
knowledge of the truth, 
and they may come to their senses and escape from the 
snaire of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." 
2 Timothy 3:24-26

Have you ever been talking to someone about God’s Word. only to find that he or she wants to argue with you about the truth?  If not, how would you handle it if you did?  Even more importantly how would you handle it if the person claimed to be a believer? That was the situation Timothy found himself in as a young pastor. In this passage Paul tells Timothy how he should relate to those people who were in opposition to the truth he was teaching. I have noticed people who disagree with doctrine often look for things they can use to negate another person’s view. Sometimes they say things that could cast doubt on a pastor’s teaching, especially if the comment were made to a new believer who was not grounded in truth or someone who is struggling in their relationship with God. The advice Paul gave Timothy is very applicable to us when we find ourselves in relationships with quarrelsome people.  
Let’s look at the word “bondservant.” In Paul’s day a bondservant was someone who had been a slave for a period of time in order to pay off a debt. At the end of the debt they were to be set free. There were some people who had been indebted to a benevolent master and when they were set free they would pierce their ear as a sign that they were choosing to stay with their master so they could serve him out of love and gratitude. That is the kind of people we want to be. Understanding Christ bought us with His blood our of the slave market of sin. He reconciled us to the Father, which can bring about a gratefulness that creates in His people a desire to serve Him out of love rather than obligation. 
Next, Paul tells Timothy that as a bondservant he must not be quarrelsome. It is interesting that this advice was given in light of quarrelsome people opposing Timothy’s teaching. He advises Timothy to be kind, able to teach, and patient when he was wronged. Notice that he does not tell Timothy to ignore the offence. He says he is to correct those who oppose him, but he should do it with gentleness. When somebody snaps at us or opposes our opinions and words, what is our natural response? What is their natural response when we snap back at them?  When we react at an emotional level, it seems our pride gets wounded and we cling to our opinions even harder, making us less open and less teachable. Paul was pointing out, that by maintaining a gentle kind spirit, Timothy could remove himself as the point of rebellion and increase the chances that the truth he spoke would be heard. He was also reminding Timothy that even though he was God’s mouthpiece, it was up to God to change hearts and minds. 
Lastly, he points out that people who oppose the truth are people who believe the lies of Satan. He lays traps for people and then uses them to do his will. When we are face to face with someone, we want to remember the real enemy is not the person, it is Satan or his demons. By keeping this in mind our pride quiets and we can gently tell the truth and then let their battle be with the Lord, not us. I don’t know if you are like me, but sometimes when I am frustrated by a situation in which I feel powerlessness, I find myself projecting anger toward someone who has nothing to do with the situation. When our oldest son was young he had a friend come over to play. She was about 8 years old and had an accident on a bicycle. When her dad came to pick her up she expressed strong anger at him because she was hurt. We were both surprised, but we realized she was really only angry that he was not there to comfort her. We might be facing a quarrelsome person who is in the same boat. They may have been hurt and Satan may be taking advantage of their pain to get them to argue with God or the person who hurt them and their anger gets displaced on us. Being kind and gentle in the presence of a quarrelsome person is not easy! It is a supernatural act that can only be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Is there a quarrelsome person in your life right now? How have you been dealing with the person? What could you do differently in light of today’s Scripture? How hard would it be to be kind, patient, and gentle when someone is arguing with you over Scripture or other things you know to be true? I think it might help us if we can remember that the goal is not to win an argument, but to invite the person to repentance and restoration. If we can let go of pride and assume a humble stance, we have a better chance of reaching this godly goal than if we are argumentative. This also prevents us from being used by the Enemy in his efforts to keep the person in bondage. One of the most practical statements we can use with others is, “Help me understand why you believe that.” By using that we remove ourselves from an argument and place ourselves in a situation to learn why a person thinks or feels as he does. Then we know better how to approach him with the truth.  

Prayer: Father we love you and appreciate all that you do for us. Thank you for your instructions on how to relate to people. Help us to be gentle, patient, and kind to people who are trying to pick a quarrel with us. Help us to care more about their hearts than winning an argument. Help us to remember that our real enemy is Satan who is like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour and use for His own purposes.  Amen.  


Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!