Hanging on to Fiery Debates

Remember from last week’s introduction to Titus 3 (NKJV):

  1. To be obedient, peaceful, and considerate of others.
  2. That we were once foolish and hateful.
  3. God’s mercy saved us, not our own works.
  4. God saved us, and changed us, so we would be good and peaceful and obedient.

Awareness of these points leads us to a life that glorifies God and prayerfully introduces Light to the lives around us. It’s our duty to impact the culture through our own good works that reflect the grace of Jesus which saved us.

I love the saying, “God’s Word never changes, the culture changes.” There is nothing missed in the Bible and there is wisdom for every situation. Even if the culture is different, God’s Living Word still applies.

Titus 3:9-11

“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”

Let’s just keep in mind that avoiding requires us to intentionally stay away.

  • (v. 9) AVOID these things because they are unprofitable and USELESS:
    • foolish disputes – I always ask a dear loved one why she backs down with others, and she says, every time, “I give in because it really doesn’t matter.” It would seem like surrendering her wishes and staying quiet is a loss but it’s actually a win. Not because she has cryptic control of the other person but because she is obeying God and showing self-control. Sometimes the little things don’t actually matter.
    • genealogies – this one can be confusing, it almost seems out of place in this list because all of the other avoidables are arguments while this one is…ancestry? Why would we avoid that? In context, Paul was warning Titus to stay clear of those assumptions of righteousness, or lowliness, through lineage.

      Quote from Eric Lyons, “There was no need for Jews to use genealogies to dispute over their identity as a nation, tribe, or family.” (Apologetics Press)
      Okay, so it’s easy to say Yeah, Jews, don’t do that. Or even to look at the Hindus use of the caste system with an eye of disapproval. But how often do we exalt our own heritage and race?

      In relation to foolish disputes and arguments, how does the glorification of our own heritage fare, especially, when we use the same model to find fault in people different from us? Regardless of the genealogy, it’s unprofitable and useless to make refutable claims about identity as if it truly defined you or another person.

      Romans 10:12-13
      12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    • contentions – are essentially arguments, you know the argument that’s so strong you continue to debate until the person agrees with you. The entire “discussion” is based on your enforcing a point regardless of the fact that the other person is never going to agree. We often think we can persuade people with facts, numbers, and history but the truth is, facts are not the truth. And, these arguments have no winners–the only thing shining after an argument is pride. And, well, you know how very UNprofitable that can be.
    • strivings about the law – so in context, this was about rules and laws of the Old Testament which were officiated by pharisees and such. But I think that we can culturally relate to the concept of “conflicts about the law.” What do we know about relationships and friendships that are ruined because of the obsession with adhering to partisan membership, being politically [in]correct and voting ballots? It’s no secret that we can be quick to remove our grace and love because somebody holds different political values from us.
      Laws can be right or wrong but what use is it to fight with your neighbor over that?
  • (v. 10-11) Reject a divisive man after…admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

To admonish someone is to gently correct them. After learning what to avoid, we are capable of offering friendly counsel to somebody who is struggling with their divisive nature. Division is found in argument, that’s the whole point of debate! By pitting history or facts against one another we are only widening the gap that should be closed by love.

If advice doesn’t change their heart then we reject such a person. That does not mean we expose them and hurt them, it just means that we avoid them because they are living a warped life driven by sin. To choose a world rampant with division because you find your own human thought above all else is to choose self-condemnation. It is to be in, and intentionally search for, a continuous battle. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE NOT TO DO. We all know someone who argues for the sake of arguing, they are usually miserable beings.

The Word says to avoid foolish disputes because God already knows how easy it is for us to react when we feel attacked. It can be hard to tone our emotions down when we’re ready to fight for what we believe in even if you or the other person leaves the situation unfulfilled. We also need to remember what we actually believe in: being peaceable and showing humility to all.

The small things don’t always matter, especially if holding on to them will drive us apart.

 

With love,
Mama X


This is my fourth post for Wednesday Wisdoms, a new weekly category that will focus on the Holy Word. These weekly wisdom posts will always include Bible verse, devotional thoughts and encouragement to get into your own quiet time with God.

Last week’s, here.

6 thoughts on “Hanging on to Fiery Debates

  1. “The Word says to avoid foolish disputes because God already knows how easy it is for us to react when we feel attacked.”

    Right on. And after a while, you learn you’ll never change some people’s minds, so move on. Not worth losing YOURSELF over.

    Great post! And timely.

    Liked by 1 person

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