But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. —2 Timothy 2:23 (NKJV)
The Church is a social phenomenon. It brings people together from various walks of life that wouldn’t otherwise interact with each other. A stockbroker and a stock boy, a homemaker and homebuilder, a doctor and a deejay… all of these people find a common point of reference in the Church.
Here’s what this means: People from very different backgrounds are able to freely share their opinions and ideas. And when there’s a difference of opinion or ideas, which is bound to happen, the temptation to disagree and debate abounds.
That’s something God warns us against. His Word to us here in 2 Timothy 2:23 is essentially this: “Don’t get into all kinds of arguments, quarrels, and debates. That creates an environment of strife, not peace. I want my people to be a peaceful people, and I want my Church to be a peaceful place.”
Understand that God is not telling us to forsake our beliefs. He’s not saying we shouldn’t contend for God’s truth when the situation calls for it. Standing up for the truth is important in our lives lives personally and in corporate Church life. But that’s different from what we’re warned about here.
The warning here is against the consistent tendency to publicly spar with others and go round and round over matters that really don’t matter. When we do that, we no longer represent or glorify God. We show we care more about asserting ourselves than about being what God wants us to be, which is peaceable.
When it comes to engaging in any form of disagreement or debate with others (especially other believers), remember this warning. Ask yourself if it’s really something worth arguing over. Ask yourself if it’s a matter that really matters, or if there’s more to be gained by avoiding a needless dispute.