Some folks seem to thrive on being involved in some kind of controversy. It brightens their day when they can darken someone else’s.
You know the one I’m talking about, right?
He’s the guy at work who’s outraged today at what so-and-so did yesterday, and next week he’ll be mad about something else. If there’s unrest in your work environment, chances are he’s in the middle of it.
She’s the one who’s always in a back-and-forth with someone about something, which is usually nothing.
Maybe you go to school with her, or live next to him, or have kids who play on the same soccer team.
They’re looking for the proverbial parade to rain on, and if you look closely enough you’ll see storm clouds just above their heads.
Let’s not be that guy.
Paul loved the church at Philippi, but apparently it had some of this don’t-cross-me attitude.
Never one to mince words, he wrote this:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).
We don’t know for sure what the Philippians were arguing about, but Paul wanted them to stop.
His reason is interesting: “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation . . .”
Here’s a paraphrase: “Stop arguing, because your positive attitude ought to separate you from the unbelievers around you.”
Our problem is that we’re usually pretty good at seeing an argumentative spirit in other folks, but not as good at seeing it in ourselves.
The grumpy coworker? The irritable neighbor? The argumentative kid at school?
That one’s easy to spot.
But we probably ought to ask ourselves: Am I having conflict with someone right now? Did I have a nasty disagreement with someone last week? Does it seem like people are always starting arguments with me?
As hard as it might be to admit, sometimes we need to take responsibility for being part of the problem.
Or maybe more often than “sometimes.”
Let’s pray about this today. Let’s show the world that as Christians we have a different spirit–one that’s about better things than arguing and bickering. We’ve got too much to thank God for to buy into the world’s negativity.