Then, surprising us both, he began to pick up each and every tiny toy and place them in the back of his dump truck, the big one he can sit on and push with his feet, until every toy was off the floor.
“What a good boy!” I exclaimed. Naively, as it turned out because he immediately knelt before the truck and began tossing the toys over his shoulders with both hands until once again they were scattered everywhere. Again he looked on his work with satisfaction, then began picking them up and starting over. This must have occurred five or six times before it began to bore him, but for a while there, “Making a Mess” was the game of the hour and he was quite good at it.
Do you know any mess makers in the church? You know, the ones who ask questions in class that are deliberately designed to foil the teacher’s carefully laid out lesson and confuse the newcomers; the ones who enjoy starting a discussion they know will end in arguments; the ones who delight in pulling people aside, especially teachers and preachers, and “setting them straight” about some detail that doesn’t even matter; the ones who pride themselves on taking the opposing view, not because it is the right one, but because they enjoy a stir. They might as well stand in the middle of the room with my two year old grandson and proclaim, “I made a mess.”
What does Paul say about them? They “quarrel about words to no profit.” They participate in “irreverent babble.” They engage in “foolish and ignorant controversies.” They have “an unhealthy craving for controversy”—indeed they can hardly control themselves when they see certain subjects coming up. That lack of self-control comes because they are “depraved in mind.” In short, these people thrive on making messes. They live to cause trouble. They even brag about their tendency to do these things.
And why is it so bad? Their actions “subvert souls.” They “lead people to more and more ungodliness.” Their foolishness “eats like a gangrene.” It “genders strife.” It serves only to “produce envy, dissension, slander, suspicion…and constant friction.” It troubles the new Christians and “unsettles minds.”
At least my two year old grandson’s activity did not hurt anyone. It was entirely appropriate for a child his age. What excuse does a middle-aged mess-maker have? He might as well go play with the babies.
But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
(Passages quoted in the body of the article: 1 Tim 6:4,5; 2 Tim 2:14,16,23; Acts 15:25.)