We are continuing our 21 Day Fast from Negative Words and this week the focus will be on arguing. The Lord gives very clear instructions throughout the Bible that those who know, love, and follow Him are not to argue, quarrel, or fight.
Oh, and don’t forget to comment on how you are doing with the fast. Let us know if you are stuck or need some prayer or encouragement, too.
The Lord instructs all believers in Christ not to argue or quarrel.
- Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Phil. 2:14
- Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
- Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Tim. 2:14
Sometimes conflict is inevitable. But arguing and quarreling CAN be avoided!
We need to be able to discuss, share, inform, request, and suggest things in our relationships. We even need to be able to appropriately confront sin, at times. We need to be able to state our opinions and desires respectfully. We need to be able to have important and unimportant discussions. Thankfully, we can do all of this without arguing with God’s help, wisdom, and power.
What Does It Mean to Argue or Quarrel?
Google Dictionary gives two definitions of arguing.
- give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.
What Does It Mean to Discuss Something?
Google Dictionary gives three definitions of “discussion.” Here are two that are most pertinent to our conversation today.
- the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
- a conversation or debate about a certain topic.
Note that with a discussion, there is no anger.
Why Do We Quarrel and Argue in Sinful Ways?
The Bible shares several reasons for the prevalence of quarreling among believers:
- Hot tempers. (Prov.15:18)
- Meddling in someone else’s quarrel. (Prov. 26:17)
- Differing opinions and personal convictions. (Rom. 14:1-23)
- Evil desires, wrong motives, malice, envy, love of pleasure, and selfish ambition. (James 4:1-7)
- Selfishness, arrogance, and vanity. (Phil. 2:3)
The Cure Is to Live in the Spirit with Love and Humility
The cure for quarreling, bickering, and fighting:
- Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2
- A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
- But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
- If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3
In witnessing, there are times to stop. When people don’t want to hear the Gospel and they reject it and us, we move on. This will help avoid quarrels, as well:
- Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matt. 7:6
- And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Mark 6:11
But how in the world do I avoid arguing in practical ways when I live with sinful people who want to argue constantly? And how to I avoid arguing when I have my own sinful nature to contend with, as well?
Some Suggestions to Prayerfully Consider
To avoid arguing, there are some disciplines and things I need to pray about:
- I must seek God’s will first, not my own. This means I submit myself and everything in my life to the absolute lordship of Christ (Luke 22:42).
- I may need to practice dying to self sometimes in appropriate ways. (Luke 9:24-25)
- I need to remember that the way I treat others is a tangible indicator of my love for the Lord (Matt. 25:31-46). The way I treat others – and my obedience to Christ – is almost always more important than the issue at hand or the decision that needs to be made. Unless the other person is trying to coerce me into sin.
- I can ask for things I need and desire. Respectfully.
- I don’t get to control other people or make their decisions for them. I need to remember that everyone has God-given free-will. I need to understand where my responsibilities end and other people’s and God’s begin.
- Even if I am in a position of authority over someone and it is my responsibility to give direction, I can do so respectfully. Yes, even with my children, or my subordinates at work. I can model respect for them in the way I speak and conduct myself. (The Peaceful Mom – Building a Firm Foundation with Christ As Lord has a whole chapter on this.)
- If someone is not asking me to clearly sin and that person is in a position of God-given authority in my life, I can honor the person’s leadership and trust God to lead me through that person.
- If I need to appeal a decision of a person in authority, I want to do so respectfully and wisely. I can do this without arguing or disrespecting the person.
- I can pray for God to give people in positions of leadership wisdom and that He might lead me through these people who hold positions of delegated authority to accomplish His will.
- I can pray for God’s Spirit of unity for our conversation, especially if the issue is with another believer.
- I can declare the authority of Christ over my relationships, family, work place, school, church, etc… before I meet with someone to discuss something.
- I can seek to be flexible on things that do not involve violating biblical principals or sin.
- I can seek to keep an eternal perspective of what will really matter 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 years from now in this situation. (“The Peaceful Mom” has a chapter on this, as well.)
- I can avoid trying to force my personal convictions on others.
- I can repent of any bitterness or resentment I may feel toward someone that may feed hatred or a bad attitude.
- I can take my thoughts captive for Christ and repent of any sinful motives I may have.
- I can avoid raising my voice, using a hateful tone of voice, or aggressive/angry body language.
- I can seek to avoid making negative assumptions about other people’s motives and intentions. I can try, as much as possible, to assume the best and believe people’s words at face value, unless I have clear evidence that someone does have evil intentions.
- I can remember that only God’s Spirit can convict people of sin and open blind spiritual eyes and raise people from spiritual death to new life. I can’t. I am not the Holy Spirit.
- I can remember that it is not my job to be the Accuser. Or the Prosecuting Attorney. That job is already taken… by Satan.
- I can remember that I am not anyone’s savior. That job is also taken – by Jesus.
- I can approach discussions with great humility. Recognizing that God’s wisdom is infinitely superior to any human wisdom and that others may have wisdom and important insights to share that help me understand a situation better.
- I can seek to use my words to bless, edify, build up others and speak life.
- I can seek to accomplish God’s purposes of loving Him and loving others.
- I can invite God to empower me to model a holy example in the way I speak and conduct myself that will draw others toward Jesus and that will shine for Christ.
- If things don’t go as I think they should, I can yield myself and the situation to God’s will and pray and invite God to work out His good purposes.
- If someone is sinning, I can respectfully, humbly confront sin in God-honoring ways. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)
- I can trust the sovereignty and leading of God.
- I can recognize that even if I don’t get what I want, God is at work and He may have things for me to learn and blessings that I can’t see yet even in my trials.
- I can give people time and space to think, if they need that, if possible.
- I can seek first to understand other people’s perspectives.
- I am called to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21), to love my enemies, and to pray for those who mistreat me (Matt. 5:44).
Some Verses about Avoiding Arguing and Quarreling:
From the New Testament:
- As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Rom. 14:1
- But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
- Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
- But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
- Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Prov. 3:30
- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
- A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Prov. 19:13
- It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Prov. 20:3
- A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
- A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. Prov. 29:22
- Pressing anger produces strife. Prov. 30:33
What are some things that have hit you in this post or in this series? How is your 21 day fast going? Do you need some encouragement or prayer? What has been the hardest part? Have you noticed any good fruit in your life or relationships?
- Insulting others
- Destructive Criticism
What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus As Your Personal Savior? by www.gotquestions.org
What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org
“Humility” by Andrew Murray
NOTE – If you are not safe, if someone is abusing you or threatening you or your children, please try to get to safety. Avoiding quarrels and arguments doesn’t mean we sit and take physical abuse or we just stay and let someone mistreat us terribly. Please reach out to proper authorities if you are not safe. Or you can contact www.thehotline.org if you are on a safe computer.