1 Timothy 3:2-3, speaks about the qualifications of overseers. What does this mean to us as ministry leaders? In 1 Timothy 3:3, Paul addresses quarrelsomeness.
Can I be honest with you, I love to debate. I actually enjoy it. I’m one of those people who can have my beliefs/opinions challenged and find debate a great way to learn. I’ve changed my mind, held firmer to my beliefs, or walked away at least with a better understanding of how other people view topics.
My love of conversation and debate, however, can often be misinterpreted as quarrelling. I’ve been accused of being argumentative, divisive, confrontational, and angry/upset. 99.5% of the time, I’m not. I’m actually enjoying the process. Over time, I have had to learn that how others perceive me is worth consideration. I’m learning to temper my love of a good debate in order to protect relationships (personal and professional) and to make sure that my integrity is not questionable.
Now, after sharing that my intentions were not intended to be quarrelsome but often perceived that way… imagine what others think of you when you are intentionally quarrelsome.
Do you know that person? The person who has some sort of a negative response no matter what you say or do. Who argues about everything, can’t be agreeable; my mom would call them a “Contrary Mary”. I remember once, as I finished assisting a gentleman, stating “Have a good day!”, and he curtly replied:
“Don’t tell me what kind of day to have!”
2 Timothy 2:24-26 reads:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (NIV)
There is so much in those words. A quarrelsome person isn’t kind, they can’t teach because of arrogance, they are not patient, they don’t correct with gentleness but are often demanding, and they can be so caught up in being right/heard/followed that they are ensnared by pride… they end up doing more harm than good.
James 4:1 questions:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (NIV)
The scripture in James is eye opening in that it puts the blame for quarreling not on the other person, but instead on ourselves. It’s easy to justify our quarrelsome nature by trying to put all of the weight on another person. But, an argumentative nature says more about who we are on the inside. Matthew 12:34 tells us that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
If you find that you are constantly engaged in quarrels, arguments, controversies, and confrontations… as a Leader, it may benefit you to ask God to examine your heart and open your eyes to what your heart is full of.