Jeremiah 15-17 2 Timothy 2
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. The Lord’s servant must gently teach those who disagree. Then maybe God will let them change their minds so they can accept the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25 NCV)
What does it mean to be a servant of the Lord? Paul told Timothy that God’s teacher must avoid quarrels, be kind to everyone, teach well, and be patient. When people disagree, they must teach the truth gently with the idea that God will change the minds of those who currently disagree Him. This is a change from the Old Testament prophets who thundered God’s judgment against those in Israel and Judah who strayed. The New Testament brings a different way of dealing with people. The foundation of New Testament teaching is love, grace, and forgiveness. Rather than haranguing those who disagree into submission, the person who follows God will teach them gently and patiently, letting God work in their hearts and change their minds so that they’ll accept the truth.
I wonder how Paul would fare in today’s environment. I know he wouldn’t be demonstrating in the streets holding signs up letting people know which sins were going to send people to hell. He wouldn’t be telling people that God hates them. I think he’d cry were he to get on Facebook or Twitter. His tears would come as he read the words and arguments of those who claim to follow Christ. What would happen if we took Paul’s words to heart? What if we sought to be kind to everyone whether we interacted with them face-to-face or over the internet? What if it were more important to us that we showed God’s love, grace, and forgiveness towards people instead of blasting them when they’re wrong? What if, when we did show disagreement with people, we treated them with respect instead of calling them names? While I’ve gotten better in some ways on this issue, I’m still not perfect. Will you join me in committing to treating people who are wrong with respect? Will you join with me in sharing God’s love, forgiveness, and grace with people who disagree?
Lord, remind me that You’re concerned with people’s hearts, not their politics. I repent of my desire to be right so much that I’d show anything other than gentleness, respect, love, grace, and forgiveness towards others. Help me to be an example of how You would deal with people in all I do.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.