I’m going to tell you a little bit about myself that I don’t like to admit. I am a very, very stubborn person. I really don’t like to admit that I am wrong. I’ve gotten a lot better at admitting it over the years; when I first met Tim, I just couldn’t get the words, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” out of my mouth. Early in our marriage, we had some pretty volatile fights (usually I was the one doing the cursing and yelling) that probably could have been avoided had I just conceded that I might be incorrect. It took the Weekend To Remember to help me realize that I have to admit when I’m wrong and that it is a gracious and Christian thing to admit error. It’s helped our marriage and it’s been healthy for my ego to learn to admit that I’m incorrect sometimes. I’ve learned a great deal of humility in admitting wrongs.
We’ve been talking a lot about social media here and on Sunday. Social media is becoming one of the primary ways that we have of interacting with the people that we love. But social media is tricky for a lot of us because we often don’t have to deal with the immediate consequences of what we say. Also, people like to argue on social media. Just like me, many of those people don’t like to admit that they are wrong or to concede to a point. How many people have you seen who have had their side of the argument completely obliterated online, only to hold on, stubborn, insisting that they are correct, and no one will ever change their mind? How many times have you shaken your head because this or that person frankly looks ignorant because of their dogmatic insistence to be correct? Are you one of those people?
Let me share a little evangelistic tidbit that I recently heard: arguments don’t convince anyone to love God. You aren’t ever going to convert anyone to Christianity by arguing with them. You may feel fiery and all het up about a particular bit of scripture or theology, but launching into an argument is never going to convince your atheist aunt or your nephew who was hurt by the church to join the fold. It’s one thing to state your convictions and another thing entirely to argue for them. Stating your convictions and calmly explaining why you believe them might open up a conversation, if you are willing to listen and compromise. Stubbornly arguing your point more often than not shuts the other person down, and you become yet another argumentative, unyielding Christian to them. You become yet another reason why they would never consider becoming a Christian.
The books of 1st and 2nd Timothy are letters that Paul wrote to Timothy to instruct him in preaching and evangelism. In 2 Timothy 3:23-26, Paul instructs Timothy with these words: Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. There are a few takeaways from these verses. First, those following God should not quarrel. There isn’t an exception to this statement; the verses don’t say, don’t quarrel except when someone gets the bible terribly wrong or except when your brother is clearly sinning, it simply says not to quarrel. However, we are to gently instruct. We are to kindly say, ‘I don’t agree with you and here’s why,’ and then humbly shut our mouths and listen. The second is that God is the one bringing that person to repentance; God doesn’t need you to argue your cousin onto the right path, He is capable of convicting them on His own. If He wants heart change, He will make it happen. Finally, we are to let go of our resentments. That angry or incorrect thing that someone said to you might really be eating at you, but you are to learn how to let it go and to move on.
Here’s my question: are you stubborn, too? Do you have a difficult time listening to the beliefs of others? Do you always have to be right? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, pray that God will open your heart to alternate views and that He will teach you how to gently state your point. If you have trouble letting go of perceived wrongs, pray that God will bless you with a heart of forgiveness. If you have a loved one that is anti-Christian, pray that God will lead you in your words with that person. Concede that they might have some very good points and then tell them respectfully why you disagree with them. Don’t go into such conversations with the idea that you must get your point across; believe that God can work through you in love to convict your loved one. Ask God to help you be a better listener and to help you admit when you are wrong. Doing so may have saved my marriage. What can it do for you?
Until I see you again,
IN PERSON SERVICES AND LIVE STREAM
Worship Services – 9:00 AM and 10:45 AM
We now have in-person worship services at our 913 West 5th Street, Marysville, Ohio location. Our first service is at 9:00 AM, the second service at 10:45 AM. Everyone is welcome to join us! Prepare your heart for a move of God in your life!
Here are the guidelines for the first phase (May 31st – June 28th):
- Greet enthusiastically (BUT without handshakes and hugs)
- 9:00 AM service – mandatory masks
- 10:45 service – masks optional
- 6′ social distancing required while in church facility
- 3 chairs between families in the sanctuary
- Children and youth are included in SANCTUARY SERVICE
- Announcements are available online and in our morning slideshow
- The nursery, while not staffed, is open for use
Our Live Stream will be at 9:00 AM
For those who are not yet ready to return, no worries! Our 9:00 AM service will be live streamed at the YouTube link below (link provided by Saturday noon). We would love to have you join us for our service from your living room! Please let us know that you are present!