It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3
The US presidential election is over…do you miss the political commercials that blared persistently for the past few months on TV? Yeah, me neither. All the negativity stresses me out. Analyzing positions, sharing ideas, discussing strategies…I don’t have a problem with that. It’s the bickering—ugh! Some people love that side of politics. Not me.
Before the election, a deejay at a Christian radio station posted the above Proverb on his Facebook page. No commentary accompanied it. No political statement or insinuation that it had anything to do with the presidential debates occurring at the time. Just Scripture.
As a mom, I know a fair bit about bickering. He said that, she rolled her eyes, did not, did too, blah blah blah. I thought, hmm, this is a good verse for my family to memorize.
What a shock to learn how many people started arguing on Facebook with the guy who posted the verse. There were comments like: “You’re calling us to be passive” and “we need to stand up for our rights”, stuff like that.
Nobody seemed to catch the irony of how quick people were quick to quarrel. Also interesting to me, they may have thought they were arguing with the deejay for posting what he did, but the truth is, they were responding to Scripture.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness… 2 Tim 3:16
There are a lot of Proverbs about being slow to argue. To listen instead, to choose our words carefully. Note Proverbs 20:3 doesn’t say to be passive or to never speak up. What it tells us is it’s to our honor when we don’t create turmoil, because anybody can jump into an argument.
How quick are we to quarrel? In matters of political, religious, or parenting beliefs, do we argue with others to persuade them, or worse, to bully or shame them? Has arguing ever persuaded you of anything?
My mind has never been changed by a bickering contest. But engaging in dialogue has.
The same is true with Scripture. God doesn’t argue with us in His word. He states the truth, straight up. Sometimes we argue with Him, however, because the Bible doesn’t say what we want it to. Because it makes us uncomfortable or challenges us. Sometimes I get hung up on verses calling me to forgive or to let God handle something I wasn’t made to shoulder anyway. “But but but” sputters on my lips. Sin colors how we approach God’s word, and how we respond to it.
It’s not always easy, but when we read Scripture that makes us uncomfortable, dialogue with the Lord about it. Tell Him how you feel. Let Him work in your heart, rather than arguing with Him.
And meanwhile, I’ll ask for Him to work on the part of me that is quick to bicker.