This doesn’t come from me. It comes from Paul, a huge authority in Scripture. I’ve been reading the letters in the New Testament/Covenant. I’m in 2 Timothy now and how timely to come across this passage. Paul writes to young Timothy because he was dealing with a lot of divisive followers of Jesus. Timothy was discouraged, so Paul helps him out and writes 2 letters. This hard truth comes from the 2nd letter. Just a disclaimer, this is going to sting. And please know, if you follow Jesus and are either a close friend/family or an acquaintance, this is not an attack. It’s a call to repentance that I have felt Jesus speak for my own life and felt His Spirit prompt me to write this.
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” — 2 Timothy 2:22-26 NIV
In a moment of complete transparency, I have to say something. This is weighing more and more as I watch our culture and what’s happening. And what pains my heart more than ever is not how followers of Jesus are doing nothing. No, we are sure doing something BUT what we are doing is not right. Not all followers of Jesus, but so many are merely adding to the negative, hostile, rebellious, and anti-Christian culture that’s ever present in our society. I’m growing weary and more and more discouraged by post after post, passive aggressive comment after passive aggressive comment, rebellion after rebellion. And all from the actions and words of those who call ourselves followers of Jesus. Our behavior is completely not Christ-like.
Since when did Christians in America become more about protecting our rights as Americans than our DUTY to love one another? Have we mistakenly identified our current home as our eternal home? It’s time to repent. Not tell those who don’t follow God to repent. Nope. It’s time for US to repent. I have watched myself in the past year so far from God’s best and desperately trying to swim back to the truth of Jesus, the hope of Jesus, and the love of Jesus. The reason it’s such a hard swim is because I add (and so are many other Christians) to the noise. Let me start by asking this: If all we do is add to the noise, who will hear the whisper of truth? Don’t forget who Christ called on to be conveyers of the truth = you and I.
If we as followers of Jesus hold Scripture in any high regard, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves after reading 2 Timothy 2: 22-26. I know when I read that and see the bold/underlined verses that I pointed out, I feel Jesus speaking right to my thoughts and actions. I have been known to not be gentle. I’ve been known to be quarrelsome and I just blame it on “how I’m wired.” But enough’s enough Philip! Time to ditch the lame excuses. That’s what I feel Jesus saying to me right now.
Fighting the Wrong Battle
Paul commands us to not be quarrelsome. Yet, what I see many of my fellow followers of Jesus saying & posting is exactly that. My own passive-aggressive comments are quarrelsome. Am I not the “Lord’s servant?” Then I better act like it. I think Paul’s words for some of the arguments & debates are the exact ones he would use to describe the one’s we are participating in today = foolish and stupid.
The battle, followers of Jesus, is not with policies, mandates, candidates, politics, sides, classes, races, law enforcement, etc. The battle is with the Enemy. Stop taking our eyes off the Enemy. He’s having a hay day with us right now.
Forgetting Kindness & Gentleness
Some of the things I’ve said and seen posted on our pages are anything but kind. I can scroll my Facebook and I see TONS of negative postings and people trying to prove a point. I see a lost world looking to Disciples of Jesus to see how we respond. We are commanded, even here in this passage by Paul, to respond in KINDNESS. What I’m seeing and what I’ve even said is not kind. So why would anyone who sees that example we set want to follow?
I think Paul would instruct us today, regarding social media, that if we cannot be kind and refuse to express our opinion all the time, to delete it. I really do. I think he would tell us we have no business posting and to delete it. There’s a show Sara and I watched that called social media “an amusement park for clinical narcissists.” You have to admit that’s funny. And kind of true. Anyone can post with no regard for another human being, their feelings, or any consequence. But Paul commands us to not be resentful.
Let’s Steal Ground from The Enemy
You all, if you’ve made it this far in the post, this comes from my time with God this week. My journal is littered with prayers on this. I feel Jesus tearing down my own narcissism and anger and disunity. I feel a call to repentance followed by a great movement of hope. But it won’t happen if we don’t remove our heads from the sand. So join me in speaking truth. And truth is not our opinion. The only truth that matters is that Jesus came for all. Heaven is open to all. Churches are united. Healing is here. Freedom from sin and shame is here. Jesus lives inside of us; let His light shine through!
Here’s where I want to end this post… YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO REFUSE THE ENEMY. You really do. You have a choice on how you react. Let Paul’s words fill your heart and mind and react in a way that shows the darkness it doesn’t control you. Remember to be KIND to Everyone. Treat them as “thou” instead of an “it.” This in no way means you have to agree. True relationships exist when people are willing to connect across their differences. This requires submission. Not to a belief, ideology, mandate, or anything else but a submission to Jesus’ command to love one another as He loves us. Be encouraged Church. And go BE THE CHURCH! Don’t be a captive to the Enemy.