by Dr Foster H. Shannon
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (II Timothy 2:24,25)
From the Bible, there are some basic requirements that we must fulfill:
- Believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, so that we may find forgiveness and fulness of life.
- Become students of the Bible.
- Read, study, and think so we can fulfill the instructions of I Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.
- Share your faith with others. As Christians we must be pro-active, eager to tell others about our Savior.
- Take care that we communicate God’s word in an appropriate manner. We are not to be rude. We are not to yell. We are to be respectful. We are not to act superior and put others down. May we love those with whom we speak.
Certainly it is good to know that you are right in what you have to say, but we must remember whom we are serving!
“I am the vine, you are the branches….for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
There are passages in II Timothy that we should find helpful:
“Remind them of this, and charge them before the Lord to avoid disputing about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” (II Timothy 2:14)
“Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” (II Timothy 2:16)
“Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (II Timothy 2:23)
Evidently, the Christians in the first century had problems similar to ours. That is, people are blabbering a lot of nonsense today. It is as if all that we have to do is to spit out words, and everyone will think that they are cute and interesting. Much of gossip is similar. Someone tells us something and we take it for the truth, although we have not verified it. To make it more interesting, we embellish it, add to it, to the end that the person who started the questionable statement would not even recognize it.
These are days when the winds are blowing against those who have a high view of scripture. We are required to swim upstream against the currents. We do not believe that any group of people should be reviled or despised because of the color of their skin, their language, their location or cultural practices. But we believe that there is both right and wrong.
“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.” (III John 11)
We want for people to get along with one another. Conflicts are disturbing—they may make us uncomfortable. Yet, as we have the privilege of believing in God, we also have the responsibility to tell others about him!