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Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

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.

  1. 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.
2. exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.
In this post, we are talking about the second definition. Or about quarreling, squabbling, bickering, or fighting. We are not to pick fights. We are not to act foolishly, only caring about trying to force our own opinion and agenda on everyone with selfish motives. We are not to try to crush other people and hurt them to prove how “right” we are about something.

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.

  1. the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
  2. a conversation or debate about a certain topic.
Note that with a discussion, there is no anger.
There is no attempt to hurt others or to “win at all costs.” It is a peaceful conversation about ideas, priorities, perspectives, and solutions. This is very freeing! We can discuss without tension at all – recognizing that the relationship is generally more important than the issue being discussed. The only time the issue is more important is if it is something about God or sin. And even then the Lord instructs us to handle those who oppose us gently and with respect, desiring the opponents to come to repentance, salvation, and right relationship with God (2 Tim. 2:25).
We can respectfully share and discuss our perspectives, ideas, desires, needs, and concerns. We don’t have to insult anyone or be rude. We don’t have to go after anyone with sinful anger, rage, hatred, or malice. We don’t have to be selfish. We can remain Spirit-filled, self-controlled, calm, and peaceful. We can treat others with honor, godly love, and respect as we act in our new nature in the Lord.
Yes, even if we disagree.

Why Do We Quarrel and Argue in Sinful Ways?

The Bible shares several reasons for the prevalence of quarreling among believers:

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:

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

From Proverbs:

  • 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

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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?

Much love!

RELATED

We have been doing a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words inspired by this wife’s story. We started on Valentine’s Day and agreed that we would seek to avoid the following:

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.

4 thoughts to “Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?”

  1. Your posts lately are so timely for me, April! I have been really tested in humility lately with a very contentious person. My confessor reminded me this weekend (in reconciliation) to pray for her, because no one else may be. It is hard to be humble and not defend yourself or strike back in anger when someone is directing his anger at you! God’s mercy at work, am I right?? Thank you so much for your message!

    1. Jen,

      I have had a number of tests in recent months, myself. It is very humbling. But as we seek the Lord about difficult people around us, it can be such a springboard to spiritual growth and learning! It is very difficult not to react in sinful anger when someone else is acting like that. Yep. Definitely requires the power of the Spirit.

      There are some contentious people who are so toxic we really can’t continue to deal with them. If you have extended family members that are very toxic, Leslie Vernick has some free resources that may be a blessing.

      And, of course, if you are not safe, please do whatever you need to do to be safe. I don’t want anyone to stay where they are in danger.

      May God give you the wisdom, resources, power, and discernment you need to respond in ways that honor the Lord and bring glory to Him.

      Much love!

  2. April, thank you again for a wonderful post. There are a LOT of great ideas and inspirations to help me/us along. This challenge so far has had successes and failures.

    The success: my husband said something to me that I didn’t agree with, so rather than challenge him, I asked him why he felt the way he did. His point of view made sense and was one that I hadn’t considered. Another success was when my pharmacy got my prescriptions wrong and I had to return three times in one day to get them right. The pharmacist was aghast at the errors and apologized profusely. Rather than show him my annoyance, I said that no harm had been done and that we are all human. He apparently was having a very bad day himself and thanked me over and over for being understanding.

    The failure: My mother has a very negative view of everything. It may be due to her advanced age (85). Last week, her constant complaining about everything got to me and I was unable to steer the conversation around to more pleasant subjects. I was so annoyed I asked her if ANYTHING EVER goes right for her. She asked me if she came off as a negative person and my answer was “absolutely.” Not good. She apologized, and I did as well. At that point I felt I needed to begin my fast over again.

    Wish me luck! (and pray for me!)

    1. Happily Gave Up,

      Thank you for sharing about your experiences!

      The successes are so exciting! How I praise God with you! And, as a pharmacist, I can tell you that it is SO AWFUL to make a mistake. We feel we should never ever make mistakes. But we are human. It can be extremely difficult to forgive ourselves, though, if we make any mistakes. I’m very thankful you caught it and that no one was hurt.

      I’m also SUPER DUPER proud of you for asking why your husband felt the way he did. We have had many similar conversations at our house. My husband often thinks of things that I would never think of, but that are very important and valid points. He helps me make much better decisions than I would make on my own.

      With your mom, it is not necessarily wrong to address the continual negativity. In fact, it is loving to address things like this – with the right spirit and attitude. Honestly, that conversation may help her really start to think about what she says and may end up being a blessing to her and to your relationship with her and her other relationships.

      I’m glad you worked through that. It actually sounds like a step in a healthier direction to me.

      Much love!

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