Why is it that so often I return from social converse with a spirit worn, a lack, a disappointment—even a sting of shame, as for some low, unworthy thing?
Have you noticed how these days, almost every conversation, much of social media, articles we read and many presentations we watch end up being political, one-sided, full of divisiveness, rancor, conspiracy theories, threatening rhetoric and fueled by so much fear that you walk away feeling a deep sense of unrest or as George MacDonald describes, as if you’ve been engaged in “some low, unworthy thing?” There’s so much fighting going on that it is quite tempting to jump in and take a few swings, but then how do you feel later?
Our good friend Dave Roper has reminded me today of the words of Paul to his disciple, Timothy, when he said, “Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition …” (2 Timothy 2;22-25). And that “opposition” he’s referring to is not in opposition to my point of view, but in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I must admit, all this strife can suck you in. In fact, the reason the Catch is so late today, is that I got literally sucked into some articles in the newspaper and a few videos online before I realized how late it was. That’s when I ran into Dave Roper’s blog and the George MacDonald quote and decided I needed to share this with all of you because I don’t think I’m alone here.
What do we talk about? What are we likely to pass around the internet? Are they things that will help others pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace? Will they help us call on the Lord with a pure heart? Will I walk away from the encounter feeling like I have made a contribution to someone’s life, or will I feel that I have only generated more strife?
The “youthful lusts” Paul warns us to flee is not sexual lust but the immature zeal for foolish and ignorant disputes that go nowhere.
It’s time to think twice about what we are pursuing. We are building the church of Jesus Christ. We are pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace. We are focusing on preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ask the Spirit to instruct you: “Is what I am about to say or pass on going to help do that?”