In the age of social media and anonymous communication, many people have made it their life’s work to share divisive links and hateful posts in an effort to promote their opinions and their agenda on the internet. This can lead to divisive and hateful responses, which in turn leads to fruitless arguments leaving readers with negative feelings. We live in a world where fruitless arguments can also find its way into the analog world. Today, just wearing a politically charged t-shirt can spark hate speech and what can best be described as stupid and foolish arguments and quarrels. In second Timothy we are encourage to avoid these types of conversations and traps. In chapter 2, verses 23 and 24 it says:
"Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful."
When you sow venomous speech you will reap venomous responses. The bible teaches us to avoid these traps. It is human nature to get amped up and defensive when someone challenges our beliefs and opinions. I know that I’ve fired off an email or two that I wish I’d taken the time to consider before sending. Second Timothy tells us that we are not to quarrel; that we must be kind to everyone. And that word, “everyone” is all inclusive. Just consider how Jesus handled situations. He was artful in avoiding traps of this nature. And if we are discerning and self-controlled, the Holy Spirit can help us avoid them as well.
Followers of Christ are called to avoid foolish and stupid arguments that produce quarreling. When I think of Jesus’ life, I come to understand that he was adept at navigating traps set by his opposers. He was good at identifying when he was being bated by the enemy, and he was never rattled. Even when he was being accused before his crucifixion, he remained silent because I believe he knew that anything he said would’ve been used as a weapon against him. In a similar manner, we are to be careful about the conversations we enter into, and how we navigate those conversations. Paul tells Timothy that the Lord’s servants must not quarrel. On the contrary, we are to be peacemakers. We are to be kind to everyone, able to teach and not resentful.