Focus: Finding the will to avoid the ‘stupid stuff’
2 Timothy 2:23 (NKJV) But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
One of the biggest things that might keep any person from moving ahead as a true overcomer is knowing how to break old patterns involving conversation with people who tend to know how to push all the wrong buttons. In other words…figuring out how to keep from arguing with people who just like to argue.
Arguing is some people’s favorite pass time. They actually live to argue and seem to find pleasure in stirring up a conflict. I remember relationships in my past that were that way. I was pretty ignorant at the time and would jump right in, whenever I was challenged.
God doesn’t want us to be involved in worthless disputes. When two people argue—neither one is really a winner. A true winner is one who doesn’t get sucked into arguing in the first place.
Eliminating arguing from our lives can be a challenge—especially if someone you’re around a lot just doesn’t want to get along and always seems to be working at trying to get something going.
Knowing who you are in Christ can help when another person makes an uncomplimentary statement about you. If your mind is focused on what God says about you—you won’t be as affected by hurtful comments that are intended to cause you pain.
When somebody is trying their best to insult you and get you to defend yourself—just remember the example of Jesus when He was being mocked and jeered at by those who crucified Him. See your own situation as an opportunity to show your ability to act as Jesus would, if He were in your shoes.
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- Say nothing. That’s what Jesus did. When His accusers were trying to get Him to answer their stupid questions—He just didn’t say anything.
- If you do give an answer, try to make your response in an even, controlled tone of voice. The volume of our words has a lot to do with whether a dispute goes further, or not.
- Try to think of the one who is initiating a conflict with compassion in your heart. Think of them as a person who Jesus loves and died for. No matter how ignorant they may be of His ways—He still loves them and He wants you to do the same.
- Think of the person who wants to argue as a little child who hasn’t learned to control their emotions yet. Realize there’s something about their character that still needs to mature, so show your own maturity by trying to respond to them in patient, understanding ways that will preserve peace.
- Let the other person do the talking, and while they talk—recite the 23rd Psalm or the words to a simple ‘praise song’ in your mind. This kind of exercise is not just a mental distraction—it is a way of comforting and encouraging yourself in the Lord in the face of conflict.
- Ask the other person to forgive you for whatever fault they are finding in you. Sincerely admit you’re not perfect and offer to work on whatever it is they are accusing you of.
- Pray for them. Pray silently and ask God to fill you with His love for them. Ask Him to help you see them as He does. Ask for the ability to be a peacemaker. Ask that the Love of Jesus would flow through you to that person who wants to argue with you. Ask God to bless the one who is persecuting you.
Being in a relationship with someone who isn’t trying to be an overcomer is a difficult challenge. No matter how much you want to move forward—you can’t really make them want to do the same. They may resent who you are becoming and feel insecure about the improvements in your character. As you’re trying with all your heart to live a more stable life, it can be painful not to have support from them—which is something you could really use at a time like this.
Just remember, if you’re going to be a true overcomer, you will have to be able to endure trials of this nature. Your decision to recover can’t be based on whether everyone is giving you encouragement or getting along with you. Your decision to recover has to be a 100% commitment—even in the face of opposition. It has to work all the time—or it won’t work at all.
Declaration: I will find new strength by avoiding the ‘stupid stuff’ whenever possible. I will practice using my new strength skills during times when I might be tempted to argue.