But It's The Principle!

John Tilton

"But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him." (Titus 3:9-10)
As we read the Word, we are reminded that in Biblical times there were definitely different views, beliefs and perspectives of God, Jesus and the Law. It is human nature to want to stand up for what we believe with a willingness to defend our beliefs. Verse 9 is a great reminder of the wisdom in "choosing our battles" wisely. Verse 10, then continues to propose how we might address and quarrelsome and divisive person, suggesting that it is okay to walk away from those who are divisive.
We've often heard or experienced situations where the "principle of the matter" or one person's point of view over another's takes precedence in conversations or written communication. In fact, scholars revel in the ability to debate over different theories and points of view. The fact that there are various denominations in religion and more specifically Christianity example the same fact of diverse perspectives in life.

So what is the lesson here for us to garner from God's Word? Answer: To be discerning in how we let our view or perspective on matters become predominant in our conversations, communication and relationships. Furthermore, how we can tend to let those that differ from us in their opinion and perspective get under our skin, especially if they are persistent and want to imbed their beliefs on us. Getting caught up in controversy, arguments and quarrels for the sake of proving our point or convincing someone else of what they should believe takes needless time and effort, usually adding frustration and disdain taking us away from time that could be better spent on things that will make a difference in our life, ministry, work or leisure. No question that controversy is draining, even to the point where studies have shown that prolonged controversy can affect one's health.

When I initially started my college career many years ago, I remember wanting to be a criminal attorney. I would ponder and envision myself presenting my cases. I would watch the trial attorney's on TV marveling in their ability to debate the facts. There seemed to be so much power in winning debates and proving one's point. Even today, I find myself often processing mentally how I would prove my point on different matters with my wife, peers and others on principle. Differences in opinion often found it's way into my marriage and with my will on my children. Some of our worse moments in Lanu's and my marriage were initiated and propagated by my desire to be right and correct. Wow, when I look back, I could have quelled so many quarrels. With my children, I was probably often overbearing, perhaps distancing them from me at times in their life. Many business partners part ways due to differences in how business should be conducted.

We do indeed need to be able to choose our battles wisely, understand how to better communicate with those who differ in view from us with a goal of representing well who we are in Christ in witnessing to them, but also having the tact on how to speak into the lives of those who are divisive, feeling comfortable in moving on if need be. I can see where our personal lives, relationships with others and time invested can be better used each and every day.
Lord please bless me with wisdom in being steadfast and confident in what I believe in, willing and astute in how I present my points of view, especially as a leader in ministry. Guide me in prioritizing away from matters that are controversial and refocusing my time and energy on matters that will make a difference in what you call me to do daily. Please give me the words of wisdom to speak into the lives of those that may be divisive. May I not be stubborn for the sake of principle.

Devotions for July 01

Isaiah 1,2,3
Titus 3

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