Day 9

wasted words

from the wasted words reading plan

Titus 3:9-11

BY Hayley Morgan

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.



Post Comments (91)

91 thoughts on "wasted words"

  1. Montana Moxie says:

    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.

  2. jdavis2 says:

    awesome commentary!
    appreciate your heart…
    & honesty.

  3. Kim says:

    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."

  4. Cassandra Dobutovich says:

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. Kylee says:

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

  7. Betsy says:

    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.

    1. LaurenC_ says:

      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!

  8. LaurenC_ says:

    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.

    1. Benay says:

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

    2. 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

      1. LaurenC_ says:

        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!

    3. 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

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