I had spent the morning picking up groceries, steadily growing more and more alarmed at the price increases. Finally a jar of mayonnaise took my breath away. $8.62!!! So I came home and made a humorous little post about needing to carry around smelling salts to revive myself every other aisle, hoping it might give everyone a chuckle, something sorely needed these days. I should have known better. My attempt at consolation turned into an argument about where one should and should not shop.
A few years ago I wrote a blogpost about an old hymn whose words had been changed from the lyricist's original ones due to an editor not knowing his Bible, evidently. I carefully explained the original words (and where I found them), and what they should mean to us. I got a dozen argumentative replies that eventually deteriorated into an ongoing argument between various commenters (none of whom I knew). After three years, the argument was still going strong with people checking in to add more vitriol to a debate about a hymn! Something that should have been helpful, not a cause of strife. So I deleted it. It was no longer fulfilling its purpose, if it ever did after that first ugly comment.
I am not sure what I am getting at today. Maybe it's watching people miss the real point over and over and over on Facebook, on blog comments, in Bible classes, and everyone else jumping on the bandwagon to take the discussion off the rails into a chasm of futility that creates division instead of bonding us together in the same fight. And so many of these people claiming to be Christians!
But then, they did it to Jesus, too. How many times did a compassionate healing become an argument about their Sabbath rules? How many times did a lesson on love and grace turn into a hate-filled diatribe? How many times did a point offered for consideration become a point to misconstrue and argue about, even to make an unwarranted accusation about? Why are we so quick to jump in with criticism? Why do we think it is our God-given role to say, "Yes, but," and pontificate on the other side when it isn't the one that is most needed? Why do we always think that we are the ones who can say it the right way and make everyone understand and that we know better than anyone else how to say something? Some of us are drawn to arguments like a magnet. As Paul told Timothy, some of us have an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions (1Tim 6:4).
Maybe today I am just giving in to a weariness about the mess the world's in not just on Facebook, but everywhere we look--except when we look at our Lord, whose simple message can fix anything—if we let it. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matt 11:28-29).
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers (2Tim 2:14).