What do you do when you are tempted to slug someone who acted ugly and spoke in a disrespectful way? Has your blood ever “boiled,” your temperature risen, your emotions became so agitated that a “war of words” developed? Timothy was the pastor of Ephesus and he had some insubordinate people in leadership in the church. He wrote Paul about the problem. Paul wrote back in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (KJV).
The word “strive” basically means “to quarrel, to dispute, or to argue with someone else.” Originally, this word referred to hand-to-hand fighting: men striking one another, exchanging blows with deadly weapons. The word “strive” became a word depicting people who were at odds with each other. Bickering developed, and they slugged it out with a war of words. Paul said, “Be gentle,” or mild-mannered, kind, and calm. Paul realized that so often we deal with people who fly off the handle very easily. They become caught up in the devil’s snare. When you see this kind of reaction it should send up a red flag, a warning. Lay hold of your maturity in Christ, don’t get ruffled, don’t get caught up in a war of words, and don’t descend to a level of immaturity. 2 Timothy 2:24 could be translated, “And the servant of the Lord must not get caught up in a war of words, wrangling, wrestling, bickering, squabbling, arguing, and verbally engaging in a slugfest with the contenders. Instead, be kind, calm, steady, temperate, and gentle when someone responds to you in an ugly manner.” Remember to pray for those people; don’t break off fellowship. Teach them by setting an example of maturity in Christ.
Pastor George Belobaba
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