I don’t read my bible as often as I should and I haven’t discovered yet why. When I do read it, I relish every moment, every word and idea that comes to life from it. For this reason (among many) I know it is the Word of God, because it’s a battle for my flesh to read.
Today I was called to read 2 Timothy by my pastor, who is a great and godly man. He gives me room to make (many) mistakes in my walk and ministry through social media. When he does rebuke me, it’s almost not even a rebuke, but a nudge in the right direction. Maybe it’s because I am introspective enough to not take everything at face value, but when he talks, I listen.
Coming to terms with my shortfalls, I read 2 Timothy 2:23-25,
I needed the reminder that foolish controversies don’t bring glory to God, but what struck me the most is my inability to respond to people according Paul’s instruction. I am rarely “kind to everyone”, and I don’t “endure evil patiently.” My biggest shortfall is that I take everything as a personal attack and not as an opportunity to teach correction with gentleness. I do not take into consideration the level of intelligence of others or their experiences, instead I just consider them to be purposefully attacking and trolling me.
Granted, there are some who do that, the internet is a veritable forest for people who desire to only cause division. We should all pray for wisdom to identify those who have malicious intentions and to simply respond in love.
What Paul says to Timothy resonates with me particularly in the idea that just because someone may be radically incorrect in their ideas doesn’t mean they can’t come to the repent. They may be so far off with the doctrine they believe and teach to others, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be brought to learn the truth and repent for the things they have believed. Often times I think that someone who is adamantly opposed to sound doctrine is just apostate or reprobate and cannot be brought to light. But there is hope in Paul’s instruction.
The bottom line is that we all think we are right about the things we believe. With so many various doctrines and separations of understanding in our world today, we are bound to be confronted by people who believe very different things from us. Paul doesn’t tell us to avoid those conversations, he doesn’t tell us to argue with those people, he tells us to endure evil with patience and to be kind to those who are teaching or believing false things. Ultimately, that God would grant them repentance.