Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Contentious Society and Church

Ever notice how much contention and fighting is going on around you? It's as if this has become a national pastime. Whether it is politicians pitted against one another, or political parties dissing the other, or talk radio churning out the truth, it is a war of words and tempers. It seems everyone is angry at someone.

Contentious- exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes.

'The contention became so sharp… they parted from one another… Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas' (Acts 15:38-40 NKJV)

And it is even in the church! In fact if you challenge some contentious people about their attitudes they will often quote the above verse and say Paul had his contentions. It's as if this verse sanctions contention.

Well, excuse me! I don't think God nor Paul were pleased with this contention. God being God, His plans will not be thwarted by big pieces of stupid on our part. He was able to forward His plans in the midst of Paul's contention, flesh and stupidity!

Pr 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. NIV

Pr 13:10 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord, but wise men and women listen to each other's counsel. TMB

Paul eventually saw the errors of his contention when he added more grace to his life and was not so hardheaded and determined to be right all the time. 'Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry' (2 Timothy 4:10-11).

How do we avoid contention:
1. Always give the benefit of the doubt and offer a second chance.
2. People ARE NOT you, they don't do it your way, so don't expect them to. In fact they really may have a better way, so don't make it a bitter way!
3. Don't focus on their negatives but look for their strengths and positives.
4. Don't devalue and demean another.
5. Do not speak evil of another. Strive to give a good report.
6. Remember contention comes by pride, either theirs or yours.
7. Admit it, you just may be wrong, it is possible you know!

Next time you are experiencing contention stop looking at the other person and check your own heart and see if it is full of pride- pride breeds contention!

Listen, people scare me who enjoy fighting and being contentious all the time. I stay away from them! The Church needs harmony and unity, not infighting!

No comments: