Time For God: May 14

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: 2 Timothy 2:23
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
 
Reflect:
He came to me for advice. I was, however, never certain he wanted to act upon it. He seemed to enjoy the problem far too much to want it to end. His was a familiar issue: a death, an estate, a will—and a big dispute. Much more than money was at stake.
 
The death had occurred many years earlier. Nonetheless, the estate could not be wound up. An agreement must first be struck. He described—almost with glee—how family relationships had been fractured long before his mother’s passing. Her death simply ignited the glowing embers of hostility. The fight was on. He would win at all costs. He and his sister had not directly spoken for more than a decade. Now lawyers on either side intervened, attempting to deflect mutual accusations.

A foolish fight was now in play for more than ten years. Lawyers’ bills almost emptied the disputed pot of gold. Every lawyer’s letter became ammunition for one or other side. Like bellows, words intensified the heat of vitriolic arguments. Like a TV-sitcom playing out in real life, he delivered the next ugly instalment. He would win over his “evil” sister …even if a legal bill remained as his only legacy.

Fierce are the outcomes of foolish faith—an overarching ambition combined with blind faith in one’s own human capacity. The need to win impairs good judgment. In the economy of Pilgrim faith only the love of Christ wins. We are charged to daily live it out. To those who have never tasted Christ’s love it is counterintuitive.

Expressing Christ’s love means laying down the need to win, abandoning fixed outcomes to Christ’s adaptive love. To self-reliant independence it sounds like folly. Yet a wise maxim states, Love is a mild insanity; it makes meaning of life’s craziness.

God calls his people to disagree without becoming disagreeable; to object but not be so objectionable. Love conquers all by serving all. Brothers and sisters in the faith are not the enemy. The Apostle reminds God’s people to strive for peace and to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
 
Consider:
When have disagreements and heated discussions resulted in arguments you wish you had never had? How has God healed and restored your faith? How can you reach out today to restore another’s trust? Who can you come alongside with peace?
 
Pray:
Holy Spirit, Comforter, Counselor, and Friend, come alongside me today. Let me hear the whispers of your love within the depths of your peace. Enable me to share new hope with a friend who is wounded, bruised, or scorched by the heat of argument. Come Holy Dove, descend with the Father’s peace and the Savior’s love. Amen.
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