But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.
Being a parent teaches you some valuable lessons. Something I have learned is that you need to choose your ‘battles.’ Otherwise family life becomes one confrontation after another and there are never any winners. There are some issues which are so much more important than others but even these need to be dealt with constructively and not become a head-to-head clash. That’s a lesson to be learned in the church family too.
How many of us have been in meetings where there have been pointless controversies and arguments? Here’s a thought for those meetings. In addition to voting cards and the orange and blue cards for consensus decision making we could be issued with ‘red herring’ cards so that we can show that we are getting embroiled in pointless discussion. It would indicate that we want to move on to much more important matters. The challenge of course is that what seems trivial to me might be very important to others and vice versa.
We should examine ourselves and not be the cause of senseless arguments and especially avoid being the one who causes division which has serious consequences. It takes a great deal of grace to back down. Not that we can’t have differences. But our calling is to build up the body of Christ not divide it. We need to learn to disagree well. And of course we can celebrate what we have in common which is so much greater than what divides – Jesus and his kingdom.
Lord, help us to major on the major. We thank you that what is most important is to love you and love our neighbour. When we get sucked into trivial arguments help us to hit the pause button and focus once again on where we should put our energies. Amen
The Rev’d George Watt is Minister of Reigate Park Church