How often do you find yourself in an argument with someone over petty things? Or maybe you argue with yourself about what you should or shouldn’t be doing or feeling. Sometimes, because of pride and/or comparison with others, we argue so firmly about our own opinions. Many of these arguments are so petty.
I’ll give you an example. I don’t like to admit it, but my husband and I sometimes engage in petty arguments. We are getting much better about recognizing them now before we start, but sometimes we slip. It might be about the best way to load the dishwasher or about how to pronounce a word, or some other silly thing. I mean, how petty can you get?
Even the disciples of Jesus had trouble with thinking more highly of themselves than they should. Here is an example where they had an argument about who was the greatest. It’s interesting how Jesus responds to what He knows they are thinking.
An argument started among them about who was the greatest of them. But Jesus, knowing their inner thoughts, took a little child and had him stand next to him. He told them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. For whoever is least among you—this one is great.”Luke 9:46-48 CSB
HUMILITY IS IMPORTANT
Jesus shows us the importance of humility, of not thinking too highly of ourselves. When we are always trying to prove that we know best, or our opinion matters more, we don’t help the situation.
If we could all be more willing to listen to each other with the goal of understanding, we would probably have far less arguing. This is so important, especially among those of us who follow Christ. How can we share the love of God with others when we can’t even get along ourselves?
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.James 4:1-3 NLT
When we know our identity is in Christ, that all we have is from Him, we can rest in that. We don’t have to prove ourselves and our opinions to others. Our worth is wrapped up in Jesus and in Him we have strength, grace and the promise He will never leave us.
The advice in the book of James is so fitting:
But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says:
God resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.James 4:7-10
ARGUMENT TO SEEK TRUTH
Even when truth is at stake our argument can be done graciously and kindly making sure we listen closely to our opponent’s words. If our goal is to find the truth, we will both be open to hearing from each other. Sometimes there are other ways of looking at things, and by being open we are enabled to rethink and refresh and maybe even come to a greater understanding of the truth.
One way to keep our words in check is to remember that the other person is not necessarily our enemy. We may have differing opinions on varying subjects, but we can still be friends, showing kindness and love to each other. As the scripture says,
For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.2 Corinthians 10:3-5
I know I’ve used a lot of scripture in this post, but I really believe it has the answers to many of our problems. We just need to be willing to take the time to read, think, pray and remember to focus on God, who is our Creator and the Sustainer of life now and forever.
Arguments are bound to come at times, but we can still celebrate life. May God enable us to join hands and hearts, letting love lead the way.