Avoid foolish controversies, arguments about genealogies, quarrels, and fights about Moses’ Teachings. This is useless and worthless. Titus 3:9 GW
“Our days are few, and far better spent in doing good than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance,” were the words in my morning’s devotion by Charles Spurgeon. Although they were in reference to Paul’s words to Titus regarding divisive arguments in the early church, they are words to remember as we gather with family and friends at our tables tomorrow. Let’s face it, for the next several weeks, we’ll be thrown together with a wide assortment of people all of whom will have at least one opinion that differs from ours. Moreover, while we share genealogy and genes with family members, we often have little else in common. Some people say Thanksgiving dinner without an argument or two is like turkey with no stuffing or Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade without helium balloons. Nevertheless, I’m not so sure divisiveness has to ruin our day of national thanks. Remembering Paul’s words to Titus can help us through tomorrow and the rest of the holiday season.
We all have dropped our anchors on certain issues and we’re not about to change our opinions on those. Let’s honor the rights of others to drop anchor on their beliefs as well. There are, however, far more issues where, rather than dropping anchor, we could just tie up to the pier and quietly listen to the other fellow across the dock—we might have more in common than we realize. It’s “fearless” listening when we’re not afraid to truly hear another person’s point of view.
Holiday get-togethers, however, are not debate stages or battle grounds. I have one friend who actually prepares for disputes by packing news articles supporting her viewpoints in her purse and suitcase. Keep in mind, a friendly discussion should remain friendly and is never about winning. Remember, unlike out-of-tune pianos that can be tuned, some minds can’t be changed and it is foolish to even try. Moreover, even when people have well-founded opinions, many differences will never be reconciled. Wisdom is knowing when to stop a discussion and true wisdom is knowing enough not to start!
We will gather with twenty-eight people tomorrow and seventy-five the following day. In spite of the old saying never to talk about religion or politics, considering the recent election, there is sure to be discussion of at least one of those topics. In addition to people with diverse (and strong) opinions, any holiday gathering has its share of conspiracy theorists, whiners, complainers, and nitpickers. Being a vegetarian, I’m used to politely saying, “Thank you, no,” when the shrimp, turkey, gravy and sausage stuffing are urged on me. Being a follower of Christ, I’ll silently say “Thank you, no!” every time an opportunity for dissension, anger, criticism, pettiness, or insult come passing my way. I’ll also pray a lot! Personally, I’ve found, “Please, God, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth!” to serve me well.
Blessings, peace and joy to you tomorrow!
Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether. [Charles Spurgeon]