Or have you converted to functional Catholicism like this article describes? Excellent reminder (which ends with converting back to functional Protestantism). Take some time on the reflective questions at the end too!
Quarrels don’t just happen. People make them happen.
Of course, there are honest disagreements and agree-to-disagree propositions, but that’s not what the Bible means by quarreling. While studying Proverbs recently I was struck by the fact that most of the advice about conflict is not on how to resolve it, but how to avoid it.
Quarrels, at least in Proverbs, are unnecessary arguments, the kind that honorable men stay away from (17:14; 20:3). These fights aren’t the product of a loving rebuke or a principled conviction. These quarrels arise because people are quarrelsome. Some Christians have a lifeline to Speedway and love to pour gasoline on every tiny spark of conflict.
You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the nice Nazis to believe that quarreling is wrong. You only have to believe the Bible (James 4:1). Hot-headed, divisive Christians are not pleasing to God (Proverbs 6:19). We are told to drive them out (22:10) and avoid such people (Rom. 16:17). This doesn’t mean we only huddle with the people we like. We are not talking about awkward folks or those who disagree with us. We are talking about quarrelsome Christians–habitually disagreeable, divisive, hot-headed church people.
So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks?
I have mentioned Pastor Scotty Smith before as I link occasionally to his prayers. Thanks to Timmy Brister I found out that he is on Twitter now: Scotty Smith. About a month ago, he did a little series on “signs you’re growing in grace.” Timmy Brister compiled them here for your benefit. I love how practical and earthy they are. The gospel goes everywhere. (series is still on-going by the way–maybe I will post more later).
A sign you’re growing in grace is less bombast about not being a legalist & more humility because you “get” the gospel.
A sign you’re growing in grace is you work much harder at remembering names and forgetting slights.
A sign you’re growing in grace is that everybody notices it but you.
A sign you’re growing in grace is movement from destructive cynicism towards redemptive engagement. Anybody can spew.
A sign you’re growing in grace is that you’re less like a drive-by-shooting with criticisms & more of a healing presence.
A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when you receive feedback non-defensively and give it clearly & lovingly.
A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when people don’t feel like they have to walk on egg shells around you as much.
A sign you’re growing in grace is when you say, “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, and you follow through on at least 50%.
A sign you’re growing in grace is committing fewer homicides in your heart of slow drivers.
A sign you’re growing in grace is praying for our government rather than simply being cynical about our government.
A sign you are growing in grace is that you are more disgusted with your critical spirit than offended by others’ sins.