Titus: Day 9

Wasted words

by

Today's Text: Titus 3:9-11

Text: Titus 3:9-11

You know the people who yap endlessly about things that don’t really matter? They bicker back and forth about issues that do not have a lot of weight in the grand scheme of things. Do you ever find yourself participating? Titus makes sure we know how off-base those people are, and it’s probably wise that we check our hearts and motives in our desire to pursue controversy.

In my own life, I know that I often seek out controversy and dissent when I’m bored. When I feel like my own life isn’t interesting enough or there isn’t enough new information coming at me, I can seek out entertainment in latest article or most recent Christian issue going around Facebook. It’s entirely likely that I’ll immediately look for the rebuttal article as well, because what is an argument without two sides? There must be some biological “quick hit” that comes from engaging in this kind of back-and-forth, or even just following it from the sidelines like me.

I think sometimes arguing a point makes us feel we are doing important work, and maybe sometimes we are. But, the majority of the time when I’m apt to do so, it’s because my mind is idle and my hands aren’t busy actively loving and serving others. Are we making a big deal out of grey areas because we’d rather debate in the intellectual sphere than engage and serve in the physical one?

When I find over and over again that someone is contentious and loves the drama of an argument, I tend not to take them very seriously anymore. And, interestingly, that’s what Paul tells us to do. Go to them the first time, and then after that let it go and avoid them. Don’t waste your words on arguments that don’t ultimately matter.

Does this convict you like it does me? It pushes me to see how Scripture is working itself out in the lives of those in my community. It makes me long to use Truth to build others up rather than use my pride to tear them down.

I don’t want to have heady debates more than I have heart-to-hearts.
I don’t want to convince more than I pursue.
I don’t want to love my opinions more than my neighbor.

Lord, make us more like you. Amen.

 

9a

  • Thank you God that you give truth and wisdom from your word that we see fleshing itself out here and now. May I be ever aware that your words will always stand when mans fall away!

  • Reading this today and it’s so applicable with all the drama of the election. As christians we cannot forget what’s important. So many people including christians are tearing each other apart because of an election. I’m sending this devotional to all my friends it’s a message we need to hear loud and clear.

  • Wow! Even though it seems by the comments that I’m reading this a year late, it absolutely applies to this week. The SCOTUS just decided to redefine marriage and all over the Internet there are people feeling as though they need to be heard. However, I wonder if their opinions would scream so loudly if sitting across the table from a real, live person living this different lifestyle. I know this is a major issue to many in the church, but as Paul said here, let us not care more about our opinions than loving the people Christ called us to love.

  • Thank you for these words today!!!! Reflective of Jesus and how he touched and healed people!!! Truth to build up! May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you my rock and my Redeemer.

  • To be found isn’t as beautiful if I’m not willing to admit I was lost….I understand my sin nature was washed clean the very moment I accepted Jesus into my heart-HALLELJUAH!!! Thank you Lord for accepting me and all sins to show others the way to you!! Have a blessed day Sisters!!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Thanks for joining us, friend! We love having you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Montana Moxie

    Oh so convicting today. I enjoy reading theology blogs & follow quite a few writers on twitter, but I’ve wondered if it’s profitable to keep following those who seem to thrive on stirring up contention in the name of being a “watchdog” for Truth. I think I’ll be more mindful now about what I pay attention to and read, thanks to today’s devotional.

  • awesome commentary!
    appreciate your heart…
    & honesty.

  • This is so timely for me. Just last week I blogged about my church and the frustration and disappointment I've been feeling there — much of it my own fault. I titled it "A Case of Righteous Indigestion."
    http://www.freakinangels.com/2014/06/a-case-of-ri

  • Cassandra Dobutovich

    This reminds me of what Ravi Zacharias talks about how there is a questioner behind every question. It’s a conscious effort to set our eyes and our thoughts on God many times. The amazing thing is that God is always there before us.

  • CarrieLynne31

    I also wanted to say that I find social media to be a big problem with this area. For that reason, I decided to go off of it for the moment by deactivating my Facebook. I am not a confrontational person but I find there to be way too many mommy wars, etc. among friends. It was draining me and I found the time I spent on it to be frustrating. If we were face-to-face with each other, would we be battling politics and whether women should work or not with each other. Most likely not! Yet, Facebook seems to be an easy way to be an armchair activist. It's easier to type out how you feel than to say it to someone in person. The interpersonal communication is lost. So think about what you do on social media and the things said. I want to enjoy my relationships more with one-on-one time rather than behind a screen. I'm praying God helps me this summer to go forward in putting more effort to having interpersonal relationships.

  • CarrieLynne31

    Friends, I have in-laws that bicker constantly with each other and with anyone around them that don't hold to their opinions. I find that when I'm around them or they are in my company, that I can't have a simple conversation with them without their immediate interruption and continuance of comments. It's impossible to have any type of conversation with them in any way. And when they aren't finding a way to insert their arguments with others, they turn to each other and bicker back and forth for hours. It's a huge drain to be around them. As I read this today, I know how it mentions to not have anything to do with them. However, how can I really do that when they are apart of the family? We've been working with a counselor on putting up boundaries with us and them. It's tough since we have children (their grandchildren). Both my husband and I have tried lovingly to tell them that this is damaging their relationships with others in the family. This is a tough situation for all who are around them. Please pray for us.

    • Kylee

      Carrie Lynne I will pray for you! No matter how late I am in seeing this, God is always on time ❤️

  • Great post! Social media used to infuriate me. The comments or attitudes shared were hard to not respond to, to try to address, but I have gained so much more by listening than I ever would have in talking or debating. Even if my understanding was a loose realization of what the other person needs more than what they are debating to begin with. It is so much easier to see the needs & realities of others hiding behind harsh words & indignation when one genuinely listens (even if just via the internet) and asks God to reveal truth in it! This tendency has even produced open & loving communication from opposing views. It automatically aids in deflecting defensive attitudes! Praise God that He grants us patience & wisdom in these situations, that it's as simple as asking for it.

    • LaurenC_

      Yes! Listening is such a powerful blessing. True listening, not just waiting for the other person to stop talking so that we can make our own point. You are so right – listening takes patience and a real desire to understand the other person, not just hearing what they are saying. I love your comment – "ask God to reveal truth in it." I am going to focus on that. I need to ask God what truth does He want me to learn through the words spoken or typed from another person, especially those people that I don't agree with or particularly like or understand on the surface. God always has a reason, right? He can use anyone to reveal His truth and glory. Thanks for sharing, you've opened up a new door for me!

  • LaurenC_

    This may have been mentioned in the comments from earlier today, I'm not sure. I think this has become a uniquely 21st century problem, with the prevalence of social media and blogs that allow comments to be posted. Not only are there wasted words all over the internet but also truly hateful, self-righteous, and condemning words as well. Condescending words that are masked in lots of platitudes or "bless your heart" tones. It's shocking to read so many posts and comments made on some sites or blogs, to see outright arguments and name-calling between strangers in cyberspace; people who will never, ever meet one another in real life. I was a little hesitant to jump into the community and the posts here when I first began reading SRT plans, fearing that this would be another place where I would read judgmental, scolding remarks hiding behind the "truth" of God. I'm so thankful my initial worries were for nothing, so thankful I was wrong about this community. I've had one person tell me I was "living outside of God's will," based on her interpretation of what I wrote one day. My first reaction was to feel truly hurt; what a terrible thing to say to another person. My second reaction was anger; who was she to decide God's will?!? Does she have a direct line to our Lord? If so, I need that number ma'am! My 3rd reaction was, "I'm going to say that to her right now!" I started typing and then I realized… she obviously misunderstood me but maybe I'm also misunderstanding HER. Even if she meant every word she typed (and her words appeared to be pretty confident), how am I making this any better by responding? She obviously didn't care too much about how I would feel, or else she wouldn't have written her comment, so why should I expect her to feel any differently when reading my reply?

    That day was a turning point for me, it really made me think and wonder why do we feel that we must always respond? I know my deeply ingrained reasons and need for responding. I was raised in a family where controversy was a daily occurrence. Word wars were the norm; controlling, attacking, defensive, hurtful words were our ways of communicating. Whomever got the last word "won" and there always, always had to be a winner. I remember as a young child feeling very uncomfortable with this, not sure what to do or how to process what was happening with my parents and brother. I eventually had to learn how to wage the war of words too, a survival strategy. In no way am I trying to compare my upbringing to others who experienced physical abuse, physical neglect, or abandonment. But everything is relative and words are harmful. The absence of words, when loving words are desperately needed, is harmful. Especially to a child. Words matter and while the hard ones can be forgiven, and we are called to forgive the people who speak them, they cannot be easily forgotten. It took me years and years of counseling, several failed relationships, and a conscious decision to make different, better life choices, to begin to break myself of that warring words pattern. It's easy to fall back into it at times, though, and I wish it weren't. It's a daily choice I make to choose my words, my silence, my actions and reactions. In my life now, I want my words to reflect kindness, generosity, love, confidence, humility, understanding, patience, forgiveness and the grace of God. Grace not perfection. I want to seek first to understand, not to be understood. I want to stand in steadfast confidence with Jesus and His love for me, not to jump through verbal hoops and traps set by others. I read a quote just the other day (can't remember by whom) that said something like – "A measure of true maturity is knowing when a response from you is completely unnecessary." I thank God and praise Him for helping me to understand that message now, to know that I don't have to justify myself to anyone. I don't have to respond when someone voices his/her opinion or tries to engage me in an argument loosely camouflaged as "advice" or "debate" or "seeking information." I thank God for giving me eyes now to see when the sharks are beginning to circle. I ask faithfully for God to show me my own sin when I try to become that shark, when I try to pick a fight because my boyfriend hasn't been communicating consistently with me lately, or when I begin to pick apart a co-worker's efforts or professional opinions because I don't agree with them. Who am I to judge anyone? Time is so fleeting and precious. I don't' want to waste any of it with bickering, gossiping, or battling in a war of words.

    • Benay

      What a great reminder that our silence is a choice as much as our words. Thank you!

    • CarrieLynne31

      LaurenC, Your thoughts are my thoughts exactly. I so appreciate you and what you've said here on SRT. You are right. Why must we feel the need to respond? I married into a family who thrives on the need to argue with anyone and everyone. My husband is not this way but his parents are and it's sooooo hard to be around them. They bicker with each other and anyone who tries to have a conversation with them. It's been a huge hardship when I'm around them. I am not confrontational so it was very new to me to be around this sort of way. We've had to put up some major boundaries between us and them. All of the gossip and bickering gets everyone nowhere. I continuously to ask God to fill me with grace towards them and to also respond in love. I tend to sit quietly and speechless when I'm near them as I'm not sure how to converse with them. Words are powerful and harmful. We are also seeking counseling on this issue. Thank you for sharing your testimony of getting past it with your family. I will pray for you today and that God continues to work on your heart and build you with confidence in your relationships. Blessings, Carrie

      • LaurenC_

        Hey Carrie. I am praying for you right now and I am so grateful for your prayers. I'm sorry you are experiencing these things with your husband's family but you are taking wise and healthy actions – setting boundaries, praying constantly, and participating in counseling. I have found that boundaries are essential, because people such as my family and your in-laws don't seem to understand or accept them. Always remember that the boundaries you set are YOURS. They are valid, no matter what they are. Your in-laws can try to push though them but you do not have to allow it. I've read so many of your comments here, sister, and I know you are seeking the Lord in your daily life, so I know that you try your best to show your in-laws God's grace and love. On those especially hard days, when I can't summon up the desire to respond to my family with patience, kindness, understanding, or grace, I have found it helpful to ask God to enable me to show them HIS love. That prayer usually gives me the reality check I need to pause, take a step back from my immediate feelings, and put His calling on my life and my actions back at the forefront. Our Lord always has a plan and a reason. I believe He has brought these people into your life and made them your family to show you wonderful things and to teach you in special ways about His glory. Perhaps He is using you right now as the vessel to reveal Himself to your in-laws? Hang in there, sister. I am always here for you if you need an understanding shoulder to lean on. Blessing to you!

    • CarrieLynne31

      Thank you for responding to me, LaurenC. Your words were an encouragement to me more than you know. When I read your first response, I felt like I was reading something from my own life with my in-laws. I love the advice you gave about praying that God shows them His love. And thank you for mentioning that He put them in my life for a reason. I needed to hear that and think of it that way. That is so true! I love the description of the vessel to reveal Himself to them. Wow! Your words were timely for me. Thank you for your time to respond and I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. Hugs, Carrie

  • Lord, let our mouths be pleasing in Your sight… what comes out of them is so much more important than what goes in. May both be wholly pleasing to You; may they glorify You in every way. Praise You, dear Jesus. Praise You. I love you, Oh Lord. Be blessed, dear friends.

  • Beware of the snare….quarreling is like a hot stove, don't touch it. By removing oneself from that encounter, we free ourselves from losing our foothold.

  • I think we should also remember that every word we speak would be judged……”I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak”….Matthew12:36 ESV

    • AnnaLee

      Amen… when reading that in bible study once I stopped and was so convicted, so humbled. Papa, make our words count before You. Forgive us for every petty, dirty, discouraging, sinful word. May our mouths bring you glory. Amen.

  • Praise The Lord ! This was perfect timing! I actually disengaged from a "debate" masquerading as "conversation" this very morning and was feeling a bit guilty about it! I guess it's ok to bow out and call a halt!

  • Steph_Lilac

    The Lord has knocked me over my head on keeping my mouth shut. I always have to correct someone or argue someone down to the ground but God chastised me everytime! If we really calculate how much time is wasted on silly and petty arguments we would be ashamed of it. Ladies, I pray that we strive to avoid the foolish things that Paul instructed Titus to steer clear of. There is so much work to be done in the Kingdom that we don't have any time to waste.

  • This is convicting for me when I think back on silly conversations with my husband where we go back and forth on a meaningless topic, neither one backing down because we both think we're "right". Ultimately the outcome doesn't matter, but we're both stubborn and hate to give in. It's not back to debate something, but I am reminded that it's OK to let him have the last word and it's not worth getting upset over!

    • AnnaLee

      Yes! I saw this quote once and it reminded me: "Sometimes it's better to be 'kind' than 'right'." Provided that the debate/discussion isn't trying to perverse or pollute God's word, yes. We should always come to discussions and debates with humility and love for one another, selflessness. Praying the Lord would bring you and your husband all the more close to Him, and that He'd move powerfully to keep you encouraging one another, not tearing each other down or wasting all of your words. Praise Him!

    • Mukasha

      I can so relate to this! Just the other day this is exactly what we did with my husband. Started an argument and it turned into something so ugly just because neither of us wanted to back down and both of us wanted to come out winning. Obviously we both lag in humility area. After my husband noted what we are doing it hit me! I was willingly tearing down a solid relationship just for the pleasure of "beating him to the ground" in a silly argument. Is that love? I pray to the Lord to give me and you Andrea wisdom whenever such situation occurs again, to see through our pride and give us the strength to back down and be kind rather than right. Thank you Andrea for for your insight! Be blessed sister

  • God is calling me into a deeper more intimate relationship with Him. He asked back in March but I hesitated feeling unworthy. Then He asked again two days ago June 8.

    I got what He said to me written down in my prayer journal. Here is what He said to me (copied and pasted it from my prayer journal. It’s an Iphone journal)

    Fifteen years ago you gave me your heart. You turned from your sins and turned to Me. For 15 years beloved we’ve had a relationship. It was rocky at times and you were even stubborn at times. Even for a time you turned away. But I’ve already forgiven you beloved. I forgave you when you confessed and repented.

    Let me sing over you, beloved. I take delight in my beautiful bride. Love is patient love is kind love always perseveres. It does boast. It is not rude. My love bears all things. My love forgives all things. My love is not selfish or self serving. For I am love itself beloved.

    I propose to you right now, beloved. I propose a deeper more intimate relationship with you. Get into a deeper relationship with me beloved. Many waters cannot quench my love.”

    I hesitated again feeling unworthy. Then He reassured me that His love is based on Who He is which is Love not on my actions. So I pushed aside the doubts and said Yes! Yes to a deeper more relationship with Him.

    Pray for our relationship. That it will grow! Yay! ❤️

    • AnnaLee

      Praise the Lord!! I've been praying for You so much and this news is encouraging!! Be blessed, friend!! Praying that the Lord would guard your heart and that You'd continue to be passionate about seeking His glorious face and getting closer to Him! "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23), and "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." –Jude 1:24-25. Praying for you, now! Love you!

    • CarrieLynne31

      Angela, Thank you for sharing your journal. God is so good! Blessings, Carrie

  • ruledby1

    Does this mean we can not participate in any debates? Even friendly ones?

    • Rebekah Mann

      I don’t believe that is what Paul is saying. I believe that if God leads you to a debate then it is his will and he will use it for his glory. By led I mean stumble into, kicking and screaming. It is when we don’t want to speak up to defend and debate God and his word when I often feel the Holy Spirit saying, “Speak”. I think Paul is talking about when we enter debates for the wrong reasons. When we are nit following God’s lead but seeking our own glory.

    • AnnaLee

      It definitely depends on the situation… discussion and honest conversations are beautiful, but could anything you say hurt the person, not pointing them to Christ? Could your emotions quickly turn to self instead of the Lord? Paul "reasoned" in the synagogues (Acts 17:2-3; 18:19) but I don't believe it was a heady debate; I think it more describes his presentation of the gospel in a logical, apologetic way (as https://bible.org/question/there-biblical-warrant… states– it has a lot of sound biblical support and reference on the topic).
      Ultimately, I pray that the Lord would give you discernment and wisdom in this area, and that as you press into Him and ask that He'd be glorified, He'd give you the words– that none of them would be your own. He'll show you what you don't know! Praise Him for that.

      "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." –1 Peter 3:1-16.

      Be blessed, friend. Praying for you now. Be encouraged.

      • ruledby1

        Thank you so much, it is encouraging for me to know I am beening prayed for.

    • Shelly

      This passage is talking about false teachers and church disciple. Don't get into worthless conversation with them. You won't change them any more than they will change you. Although Paul is concerned about that and says to confront them. But if they don't see/hear the truth if the gospel have nothing more to do with them. Walk away.

      That being said. I can get into a bibical debate in a New York minute! Sometimes I see a hit topic and can't let it go! Ugh!!! Like Haley, I must be bored. Unlike Haley, I'll participate. :(

  • I have recently let go of someone in my life. I feel so much more peace than when I was listening to anger and bitterness and gossip every day with this person, People say I am a good listener-but I need to remember that I need to guard my own heart and ears. I pray that God will give me discernment in this area. Thanks for this today!

    • Kaitlin

      Hi Elaine, thanks so much for sharing! Rejoicing in your peace and praying protection over you this morning! We love having you here.

      XO-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • Steph_Lilac

      Elaine we're in the same boat. I'm also always told that I'm a good listener but that should not be synonymous with a dumping ground for listening to everyone's foolishness and drama. I'll be praying right along with you.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen Elaine. (I didn't like this post because you let go of someone, because I know how hard it is, but because you chose the Lord and He changed your life in this way!) There were MANY friendships I've had over the past few years that used me, like Steph said, as a dumping ground for their drama and foolishness. Both of those things are so toxic and contagious. So much in me was polluted and perversed by much idle talk, and it breaks my heart to know of how I've hurt people through my words and actions, but it also makes me relieved at the greatness of God's grace. There was so much time I feel has been wasted in conversations and friendships that don't seek His face… but ultimately, I Praise the Lord because of his ability to redeem all the time. Father, redeem the time we've spent in sin– I know you are! Keep us from these snares, and as Elaine says, help us to carefully "guard [our] own hearts and ears." Seal them both for your courts above, Christ Jesus. Bless you, Elaine.

  • Liane Michelle

    Confession time: I used to be the worst when it came to gossip. For whatever reason, I couldn't wait to tell my friends what I had heard about what's her name. Then I heard a message at church that hit me in the gut and convicted me big time. Ever since then, I did a complete turn around. Not only did I watch my tongue, I made the commitment to no longer buy those tabloid magazines or read about celebrity exploits on the internet. Do I slip up sometimes? Absolutely! I'll catch myself checking out a story because it was on my internet homepage or I'll have to stop myself when having a conversation because it's moving into gossip territory. I still struggle with being able to witness about it to others. Most times I will walk away from the situation, but those other times I just stand there awkwardly, not engaging in the conversation, but not stopping it either. I pray that God will work in me to give me a braver spirit to lovingly correct where appropriate. It can be a simple redirect of the conversation even.

    • megan w

      Good for you Liane! I have tried to keep from gossip, and while I think I have made progress I know I can get better still. It is nice to hear that others struggle and slip up too! Praying for you, that you may have the strength and courage to keep from these idle tongues. :-)

    • AnnaLee

      I do this too, Liane! No worries. I've always known that gossip was bad, but didn't realize how destructive and sinful it was until only this past year as the Lord convicted me in many of the friendships I had. Some were purely based on gossip! It was so disgusting and heartbreaking to realize. I think we will always have to watch ourselves with others when it comes to this, as any snare, and I pray that the Lord would continue to encourage you and embolden you to speak the Truth in Love! I try to pray as I am in conversations sometimes, as hard as that sounds. Just asking the Lord to "be here" and to give me the words when speaking to someone sheds a whole new light on things, and helps me to redirect the conversation if it's heading towards gossip or bad-talking someone. Judgment and making fun of people are also two of my pitfalls… even today my sister showed me a video of a singer live and wanted to make fun of her the whole time. I sat there, prayed through it, and asked the Lord to hold my tongue and heart from thinking or saying anything harsh toward them. When you think of those whom gossip is aimed at as an actual person made in God's image, it convicts so heavily and keeps one away from idle words. Let us keep our eyes on Christ in ALL interactions. Praise you, Lord! Praying you'd continue to press into Christ and live a self-examined life in light of God's great Grace! Amen.

  • I am lucky at work I have people around me that see the big picture and don't linger on the minor stuff. They are a big inspiration and it keeps me from going off in a tangent. Thanks for the reminder!

    • AnnaLee

      Yay Estela! Praise God for surrounding You with people who don't do this. I pray He'd keep these words in Your mind and heart so that when debate and arguments come up, You'd be able to use them to edify others instead of falling into it's snares. Praying that for all of us! Blessings, friend!

  • Samantha B.

    "I don't want to love my opinions more than my neighbor."
    This whole post: Right to the heart!
    Whew. How often have I done this without even realizing it?
    Praise the Lord for this great reminder and the encouragement that ignoring someone is actually okay and we aren't supposed to engage them.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen sis. How often do I let self-righteousness get in the way of loving? Convincing get in the way of pursuing with Love? Father, change my heart. Change our hearts, and help us to see others as you see them: Made in Your image, no matter how rebellious. Change us, and help us to point ALL people to You, no matter who they are. In Christ's name, Amen.

  • cjackson_96

    Why is it so easy to gossip? I find myself falling into this trap over and over again. Today was a great reminder to avoid gossip and petty arguments because they do nothing for God's kingdom. I want to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God. Lord, I don't want to have heady debates more than heart-to-hearts. I don't want to convince more than I pursue. I don't want to love my opinions more than my neighbors. Today, I pray that I can put aside the petty arguments, gossiping, and judgement. I pray that I can focus on things that will build the Kingdom rather than tear it down. Like others have said, we do not have to argue or debate, especially over issues in the church. I don't want to focus on the minute details and gray areas. I'd rather focus on worshiping God and doing His work in this world. No matter what denomination you are or what church you attend, we are all worshiping the same God and we are all his children. So, who cares about the little details?

    • Kaitlin

      Thank you so much for sharing! This is my prayer, too! I am so thankful for others united in this battle. We love having you as part of our community!

      XO-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • AnnaLee

      "I pray that I can focus on things that will build the Kingdom rather than tear it down… I'd rather focus on worshiping God and doing His work in this world. No matter what denomination you are or what church you attend, we are all worshiping the same God and we are all his children. So, who cares about the little details?" Amen, sister. Does this mean we are not to have discernment and wisdom when going to a church? No, but it should all be done in love. As long as the church is biblically accurate and proclaims the Gospel boldly, like you said, we should do all things to edify each other. Father, I pray You'd help me to discern what is building the kingdom up and what is tearing it down– give us discernment, humility, and boldness to do Your will, Lord. Help us to love one another. Thank you for your insight, sister! Praise God for you! Be blessed!

  • heathermkneisler

    Beautiful reminder!

  • Brittany Dixon

    I have a few friends in Facebook that frequently like to debate in whether certain popular pastors are false prophets. They also feel the need to comment on every single Christian issue or latest church scandal that comes up. I too use to be this way until I realized how much division and confusion it ends up causing. This scripture should be ingrained on our hearts and we must all lean on the holy sprit who teaches all things. We don't have to argue and debate

    • Kaitlin

      I love this, Brittany! Social media definitely does provide an entirely new realm of opportunity for chatter to happen. Thanks for the reminder, have a blessed day!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • AnnaLee

      Brittany, I too had much of this going on when I was on facebook. Social media can be a very beneficial thing, but it is SO easy to use it for wrong purposes, especially glorifying ourselves and our opinions over the Lord's. Now that I'm off facebook, I'll look over a parent's shoulder from time to time and see their discussions, which make me indignant and judgmental. Father, forgive me for my self-righteous attitude when it comes to debates and arguments online! That's wrong. Help us all to extend grace, patience and Godly wisdom as we look to You and ask You to instruct our tongues (and our fingers when typing) as we go out into the world. Humble us, Lord; we are only dust You breathed into. Help us bring others to You. In Christ's name I pray, amen. Thanks for this comment, Brittany! So needed. Be blessed.

    • CarrieLynne31

      Same here, Brittany. I found there to be way too many mommy wars. I finally deactivated my account at the start of this month. And would you know I don't even miss it. Sure, I like to hear from friends. But the endless battles between people are a great reason to leave. It's also challenged me to spend more time connecting with people in person than online. Blessings, Carrie

  • Paul gives similar advice to Timothy (2Tim 2:23). When I started teaching several years ago, I grabbed on to this verse almost as a lifeline. There is nothing that discredits you (thus losing control of a classroom of teenagers) more than engaging in "foolish and stupid arguments." Anyone who wants to redirect attention from what is important will try to start an argument over something. It takes one fool to start an argument, but it takes two fools to keep it going. We cannot be creditable ambassadors for God when we look like fools.

    • Steph_Lilac

      "It takes one fool to start an argument, but it takes two fools to keep it going." That, my sister should be on a T-shirt.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen Steph. Amazing insight, Benay, and looking back, it's insight that I definitely saw a lot of youthgroup leaders almost fall into, especially the student leaders who more helped out and mentored us. It's beautiful to be earnestly seeking out the Lord's face and asking these humble questions, but the line is so thin between something being encouraging & earnest vs. being proud and only to create a ruckus. Lord, forgive me for becoming so apart of these foolish arguments, based more on philosophy than anything, and continually keep us looking at YOUR face and not our own. In the end, may we only aim to know You and You crucified among any other thing (1 Corinthians 2:2). Praise God for you, Benay. May the Lord continually bless you with insight and wisdom in His will for you. Blessings!

  • EssieJean

    Having worked in ministry, I have frequently had co-workers who repeatedly pursued arguments over things that were not salvation issues. There's just something about a Christian that makes us want to "rise up and defend" every little thing about the scripture – even the little nuances that we see.
    I really think that's the human part of us, not the Holy Spirit. These discussions would always get me down, because I never had any interest in them. But these friends would always try to drag me in. I wish I had had some scriptural words like Titus 3:10 to hold up as my reason not to participate. I guess now I know for future occasions :)

    • AnnaLee

      I've definitely been dragged into– and instigated– these "nuance debates" in the past. What starts out as an honest question about the Lord and walking with Him can quickly become about defending MY point of view, not the Lord's word. In the end, we are humans and we do NOT know it all; all that we can know is what the Lord has told us through His word. It's hard to not let our bias and life intertwine with what His word says, but it's of the utmost importance that we humble ourselves before Him in all things. Does this mean we should never rebuke or admonish a brother or sister in love when they're in sin? No. All these things should be done out of love and humility, wanting to build them up. Much to think about, here. Lord, forgive me for the times I've let pride steal away your glory; all of it fades and means nothing. Forgive me for every philosophical debate not founded in You, and lead me further into Your Truth, everlasting. I praise You for that, Lord God. Amen. Be blessed, EssieJean. I'm so glad the Lord used this to give you support and insight! May He use you in future situations to bring forth peace. Blessings!

  • Amen amen and amen. This is so true for many of us. We are quick to gossip and argue a point out without realising how wrong it is. God change our hearts and make us more like You this morning.
    I honestly thank God that I am not argumentative but I can be if its necessary. Lord I pray that youll change that for me so that I may know when to and when not to speak.

    Lord may I have more heart to hearts that heady debates, may I pursue more than I convince and may I love my neighbours more than my opinion. Make me more like you in Jesus Name.

    May we stay away from gossip and useless arguments and be occupied with the work of the Father.

    Have a blessed day SRT.

    • AnnaLee

      Amen. The idle mind is the devil's playground, as they say. Let us be occupied with bringing Glory to God with our thoughts, feelings, actions and lives as a whole to keep us from the snares of the world, including debating. "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves." Galatians 5:16, NLT. Blessings, dear friend and sister. Love you. May the Lord bless you richly.

      • CarrieLynne31

        Indeed the idle mind is the devil's playground, AnnaLee. I'll have to remember that quote. Thanks!

    • CarrieLynne31

      Amen, Kimone! This will be my prayer today! Thanks!

  • brookekiernan

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. Yet another reminder that I am focusing far too much energy on things of the earth rather than on Christ. Amen.

  • joanne sher

    Lord, help me to pursue more than I convince. Too often, I am more interested in being right than being like You. Direct me in Your way.

    • Brandi

      My prayer also! Father, enable me to show your righteousness, not my own! Enable me to be more interested in being like you than being right!

    • AnnaLee

      How often all of us want to convince more than pursue. It's a love issue, isn't it? Love pursues, but law/pride tries to possess, to convince, "be right." Father, help us all to pursue each other with the same enduring, loving kindness that brought us to repentance in You. Praise you, Jesus, that You made us in Your image and are willing to continually, lovingly clean the muck off of us, showing us how to point each other to You. We are nothing without you. Amen.

      Be so blessed, sister. I pray that as you press into Him, you'd continually give your heart to Him and allow Him to transform it with His love. How beautiful, how amazing, He is. Love you.

  • katsmith1026

    Such a solid reminder that WHAT we say, & HOW we say, matters so much. Thank you, Hayley.

    Good morning sisters! The Lord led me to these two passages on the tongue and words, and I again wanted to share them with you all.

    … but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord & Father, & with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. || James 3:8-9

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching & admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms & hymns & spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. || Colossians 3:16

    The passage in James is super convicting, but I think the verse in Colossians redeems it. As humans, ON OUR OWN, of course we cannot tame the tongue. BUT if we allow ourselves to settle and soak in the word of Christ, allow it to "dwell in us richly," I trust, believe, and know that our Father can redeem our tongue and our words. What comes out of our mouths is often revealing what is truly in our hearts.

    Blessings over your Tuesday, my dear sisters.

    • AnnaLee

      What comes out of our mouths is definitely revealing of what is in our hearts! Thank you for these scriptures and insight, sister. I've seen the same concept of with God/without God:

      "To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." –Ephesians 4:22-24

      "But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." –Colossians 3:8-12

      Similar to these passages, your scriptures brought to mind this idea of taking off/putting on. That poison of the tongue makes us to "curse people who are made in the likeness of God," but with the Lord's washing of our souls with His grace, love and Truth found in His word, the mouths we used to curse the reflections of God can be used to "teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns and spirituals songs." Praise Him, that He helps us to clean the muck off of each other, God's flawed mirrors, instead of breaking them. Praise God! Praying that all of us would dwell in Christ richly, so that we may produce this kind of fruit. Be so blessed sister! Thank you for this insight! Love you!

    • journeyingwithhim

      LOVED this insight. Thank you!!

  • JessicaLoves___

    What a great reminder of our purpose in Christ: not to convince others to think and be like us, but to love those who are different! We can keep ourselves focused on doing this by avoiding divisions and people who create them and seeking unity in Him.

  • stinav96

    I love this! Thank you so much! I struggle to know 1) when is it important to take up an argument versus when is it important to lay that argument down? (When is it a witness to stand up for what I believe versus when am I just making the Lord's name look ugly to others?) And 2) when is it appropriate to "give up" speaking truth to those who don't seem to listen? To those who enjoy always being right whether they are or not? Maybe it's a situation by situation assessment to make. There is a person in my life for whom I have simply stopped suggesting what she might be doing wrong in a situation that is going badly for her because she always has an argument for why what I've said is wrong, or she doesn't want to see what I see. Grant it, I have my own planks, and I'm never judgmental in the way I approach her. I'm even cautious when she is asking for help in how I point things out to her. But then I feel like I'm the one who has uttered idle words, because they fall on deaf ears. Finally, I find it interesting that verse 11 talks about the factious, divisive person being self-condemned. God doesn't need to condemn her. She has already done that to herself. God's role in her life can only be to lift her up out of her self-condemnation to eternal life. Lord, may I not condemn myself to a fruitless life here on earth by insisting on arguing points that do not further your kingdom. In Jesus' Name.

    • EssieJean

      Oh Tina, I understand the tension you must be feeling in this relationship. It is difficult to keep our mouth shut when we see a friend who seems to be wrong. I've encountered this a few times, and it always seems to me that the arguments they have against what I'm saying are based on an "I believe" statement that may not be scriptural, but, to which they cling for dear life.
      That is so hard to watch, but know that the Holy Spirit will do that work. In these times, I think of the Israelites, when God said to them (paraphrased) – "The battle is already mine. You need only to stand by and watch."

    • AnnaLee

      Ah… wow. Your words are like a breath of fresh air, stinav96. I, too have had friends who just do not want to hear the truth and are set on causing division through meaningless debate. I pray for you and your friend, that the Lord would give you insight onto how to have patience with her, but also how to tell her the truth in love; I'll also pray that she'd have a soft heart for His words, because nothing will ever mean anything if the Lord doesn't give her the heart to hear it.
      As for your first point on when it's important to make an argument, it's definitely situation by situation, by one thought that always discerns things for me is if 1) the debate is in genuine, earnest search for the truth, not to make people feel proud about themselves and 2) if comments are encouraging and pointing towards Christ, not using Truth as a sledgehammer. I've been guilty of the latter in both situations, and I've seen many conversations/debates go sour when self becomes the center, and not Christ. When I've become self-centered in an argument like that, I try to quickly apologize for whatever and withdraw from the entire conversation.
      "Finally, I find it interesting that verse 11 talks about the factious, divisive person being self-condemned. God doesn't need to condemn her. She has already done that to herself. God's role in her life can only be to lift her up out of her self-condemnation to eternal life." This pretty much brings me to tears inwardly. I've condemned myself a lot today through legalism and just falling into satan's attacks, and to know that the Lord's desire isn't to condemn me more for it but to lift me up out of it is just so… sweet. Father, I love you. I come to you, now, Lord. Let me be hidden in You, and not in the law.
      Thank you for this, sister. Blessings!

  • I have 2 women that help me on a Tuesday, to prepare,and serve on a course that is running at our church…..individually they are great, together….oh my…!!! They can rip to shreds a character of gold, they could, I suspect, start a war if they put their mind to it….they certainly know how to ruffle a few feathers…..yet individually, they are actually pleasant……I used to get cross, but now I can shut my mind to their 'debates'….I can walk away….
    But you know, it's draining to listen to them, it truly is ……it can change my attitude…..my minds thinking…..my temperament…..I won't join them, but I can feel ugly inside….
    I have never been one for confrontations…..arguments….don't get me wrong….I will when necessary, to defend my children, an injustice, but generally, I'd rather be filled with the Joy of the Lord…..any day…
    The Message says this in v8…".Take a firm stand on these matters that those who have put their trust in God will concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone…stay away from the mindless, pointless quarrelling… " AMEN……I say..

    I don’t want to have heady debates more than I have heart-to-hearts.
    I don’t want to convince more than I pursue.
    I don’t want to love my opinions more than my neighbor.

    Lord, I pray these beautiful words of Hayleys be my prayer, ….my attitude, ….my conscience…. and Lord, help me to concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone…

    Happy Tuesday sister's….as Paul would say in his letters….I thank God through Jesus for each and everyone of you…Blessings Dear ones….xxx

    • Benay

      It's draining to listen to them — so true! Nothing wears you down and depresses your soul like listening to endless negativity, gossip, and criticism! And it can be contagious — being around people who communicate through complaints make me focus on the negative as well. I find myself becoming judgmental and pessimistic. And sometimes — you can't walk away from these people and have nothing to do with them. So I pray for the Spirit to fill me and help me filter what I hear and purify what I say.

      Thank you tina for your comments every day! You are a blessing!

      • CarrieLynne31

        Thank you, Benay! It is contagious and depressing. I will be praying for the Holy Spirit to help me when I'm around those who do this too. Blessings, Carrie

    • AnnaLee

      Amen Benay! Though we want to be away from them in Spirit, sometimes we cannot be apart from them physically. I've fallen into so many snares by being around people with negative/sinful habits and personalities… how proud, opinionated, and boisterous they've made me in the past… now that I look back on who I was, the pointless debates I was apart of and witnessed, I am put to shame and now become so depressed, judgmental and irritated around them. Father, don't let me become that way! Overcome the evil of this world with Your good! Give me, us, much patience, compassion and insight when we can't get away and help us to fight these debates with prayer– that others would know you seek peace as well. Praying that all of us would check ourselves and give much compassion and grace to others! Be blessed, sisters. Love you!

    • CarrieLynne31

      Tina, I have a couple people in my life that do the same. I appreciate your reminder to walk away from the quarreling. It does no good. Thank you for sharing! Blessings!!! Carrie

    • Ashley

      so well put!!!! Amen sister!

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