January 16 was our first meeting for the new year, but the weather kept many at home that night. Our topic was on Disputing and Arguing (we skipped ahead of the lesson on Disrespect) and it was a challenging lesson for all of us “expert” complainers.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” – Philippians 2:14
Everyone faces irritations and the temptation to respond in a harsh, unkind, prideful, and annoyed ways. So how are we supposed to “do all things without murmuring and disputing”? Is it possible? After all, doesn’t everyone have arguments?
On our own, it is impossible to go through life without disputing and arguing. However, God will help us and give us the strength to resist the temptation to argue and overcome this tendency in our lives. With God’s help, we must learn to overcome our natural human reactions and learn to replace them with Christ-like responses – such as meekness, humility, self-control, and overcoming evil with good.
Arguing can have very damaging consequences, especially in the area of relationships. For example, arguing can cause siblings to hate each other, parents and children to resent each other, friends to separate, and marriages to end in divorce.
Pride is the root cause of many arguments. The argument keeps going when someone is unwilling to humble themselves and let the other person with the argument. When it comes to winning or losing an argument, we need to understand that the “loser” is actually the “winner”. The one who is willing to give in and humbly “esteem others better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3-4) is the true winner in God’s eyes. As is often the case, God’s thinking is exactly opposite to our own natural inclinations.
It is hard to let the other person win the argument, especially when we think that we are right. We need help, because we can’t do it on our own. God has promised that He will give some help to those who humble themselves (1 Peter 5:5). If we look for ways to humble ourselves every day, we can expect God to work on our behalf in a mighty way. It takes two prideful people to argue. If one person chooses to be humble, the argument stops.
It usually only takes one person to clear up a conflict. If one person is willing to obey the Lord, amazing things can happen. It’s not your responsibility to force others to work things out, but rather to make sure that you are obedient to the Lord and leave the results to Him. We finished our lesson by reading Colossians 3:12-14:
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
For our activity (which we forgot to take pictures of), we had “Detective Deborah” visit us and ask us to help her solve some cases that she had on her hands. She heard about a group of “bright girls” and knew that we were just the ones to help her out. :) She had four mysteries for us to solve: the Puzzling Pencil Problem, the Hockey Fight Conundrum, the Case of the Chore War, and the Mysterious Skirt Skirmish. In each of these cases, it started with a peaceful afternoon and erupted into a full scale conflict, shattering the serenity with harsh words and raised voices.
It was our job to investigate each of the cases, working though a list of questions to help us identify what caused each argument. Each mystery was solved when we found out what the root problem was and found a Scripture verse to correct the conflict. We had a lot of fun being detectives for the evening. :) Click here for instructions and scenarios.
As usual, we ended our time together sharing snacks and fellowship. See you all on January 30!