Summary: Quarrels can be overcome with the love of Jesus and the wisdom of the Spirit for those who are submitted to God’s will
What Should You Do When You Have Been Quarreling?
Many fine relationships are spoiled because of quarrels over non-essentials.
ILlustration:Years ago, a large statue of Christ was erected high in the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile. Called "Christ of the Andes," the statue symbolizes a pledge between the two countries that as long as the statue stands, there will be peace between Chile and Argentina. Shortly after the statue was erected, the Chileans began to protest that they had been slighted -- the statue had its back turned to Chile. Just when tempers were at their highest in Chile, a Chilean newspaperman saved the day. In an editorial that not only satisfied the people but made them laugh, he simply said, "The people of Argentina need more watching over than the Chileans.
Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.
James writes, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:1-4)
In order to maintain and develop lasting relationships we need to apply Biblical solutions to complexities of quarreling.
1. The greatest enemy to healthy relationships lies within your own selfish desires. Jesus said, "It is not what is on the outside of person that defiles them, but what comes out of their evil desires." – hate, envy, jealousy. Practice a Holy Spirit empowered self-control of our emotions, desires and thoughts. You have the power to solve 80% of the problems behind quarreling. Only Jesus had perfect motives.
2. When you hurt another with offensive words seek reconciliation with a forgiving attitude. Jesus said, "First be reconciled to your brother before presenting your offering at the altar." If we say that we love God without loving our brother or sister we are a liar and the truth does not abide in us.
3. Incessant quarreling is a sign of carnality and immaturity. Paul writes, "You Corinthians are still infants in Christ… You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?" (I Cor. 3;2,3) There is a difference between discussing issues objectively and taking issues so personally that we begin to assault another’s character.
4. It is all right to disagree without being disagreeable in the process. By controlling one’s tone of voice, one is able to calmly discuss issues without becoming agitated, irritated or emotionally volatile. Some people have more tolerance for differences of opinions than others. Carefully gauge the degree with which you are able to show differences of views.
5. Be humble realizing that no one, except the Lord, has all the facts. Do not presuppose the superiority of your own point of view. Take other people’s feelings into account even though you may have more information at your disposal. Relationships are more important than intellectual jousting.
6. Ask the Lord for patience when dealing with people of a different viewpoint. Jesus patiently spoke truth to the Pharisees who loved to argue, debate and publicly dispute ideas. The Lord demonstrated great intestinal fortitude with people who were intellectually astute but spiritual dead.
7. As far as it is possible live at peace with all people. Remember that a discussion may reach the point where you cannot compromise your Biblical values – politely bow out of the conversation before its too late. Through the wise use of chosen words you will be able to live in harmony, unity and cooperation with a wide variety of people who may end up being your greatest advocates in times of need.
8. God allows for unity amidst great diversity of opinions, cultures and personalities. "The Lord created Christians in one body and one Spirit with one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:4-6) Appreciate God’s ability to work everyone’s contribution for the qualitative and quantitative growth of His kingdom and righteousness. You may not be able to understand how the Lord accomplishes His purposes through such a diversification of views but His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. (Isa. 55:8,9)
9. Warn others about quarreling over words as it is of no value and only ruins those who listen. (2 Tim. 2:14) It is best not to engage in Godless chatter because those who do are tempted to argue about non-essentials rather than concentrating on the essentials of doing the whole will of God.