2 Timothy 2 : 23

Isn't it funny how The Lord teaches you things when you are determined you aren't going to learn anything of revel acne (my phone autocorrected relevance to this. Got to love it)? I have been going through first and second Timothy the past few months and am currently diving deeper into second Timothy; taking it slower, chewing on just a verse or two each day. Today I came to let the Holy Spirit teach me about verse twenty three of chapter two which reads "have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels."

I read this verse and was annoyed thinking I wanted more meat, more of what I was taught yesterday in the previous verse about fleeing youthful passions and pursuing holiness. Oh well, God, I thought, teach me what you can. 

And yes the spirit taught (and doesn't he always?). We live in a church culture within America (and likely in other countries too) where we like to talk about who is right and who is wrong when it comes to ways of worship, methods of teaching, word usage, etc, etc. I know I get caught up in this. It's no secret I grew up in a family of debaters. My dad is the best debater I know and he gave me a desire for these sorts of conversations. Unfortunately, though, where my dad can debate and end it, my flesh likes to fester on how "right" I am, and how "wrong" everyone else is.

Do y'all ever find yourself with this sort of attitude? It's natural. We hold our beliefs because we value them as truth and when someone disagrees we get defensive because it feels like an attack on our judgement. But oh how selfish and immature this attitude proves us to be.

In studying this verse I laid out a series of questions to ask BEFORE entering what could be a potentially debate-like topic. I think that, for me, I should really be asking these if I am talking to a non-believer. Among the body of Christ it can be good to discuss issues that aren't necessarily doctrine but affect how we live and do life. Always, always, always though enter into humility and bow out of the conversation if you feel strife or potential harm to the relationship in the future if you continue with the discussion.

Anyway, here are a few questions that might be helpful for y'all:

1. Is this about the gospel? ie is someone saying something that contradicts what scripture says about salvation and the cross? Is it a misunderstanding of a core tenant? To sum it up: does this belief being stated contradict the gospel of belief and repentance? Of Jesus being the only way?
IF SO : speak truth in humility, but do it firmly; not swaying from what scripture teaches.
IF NOT : ask yourself the second question

2. Is someone saying something that is in scripture but is being taken out of context or it's being misused?
IF SO : humbly correct. Ask them in a way like "have you considered that the verse you are using was in this context, and this situation, and if you read around the verse you'll find this implication? Do you think that changes the verse's actual meaning and application?" Be careful not to be quick to say "you're wrong!" because how many times have you believed something that you later found to be not lined up with the word? If you're like me, a bunch.
IF NOT : go to question three

3. Is this simply someone's opinion?
IF SO : ask yourself how important it is to share yours? Always, always, always ask yourself if this could be unnecessary information at this point in time that might distract them from the gospel. For instance, your belief on how the rapture will happen is good to discuss in the right context, which is probably not with a non-believer because, since we don't know fully the details, it is simply an opinion that is better left for once they are a Christian and have a good grasp of the cross.

I have been challenged in asking myself if I am so consumed and concerned with the salvation of the lost that I "have nothing to do with" conversations that could be a greater distraction from the gospel (even if that means not getting to prove my point or look "intelligent"?)

I hope all this made sense. I'm writing this from camp (we are on week five! how crazy!) and it's from my phone so sorry any poor spelling. But I would love to hear feedback in the comments about what you have leaned about this in your own life.