Written by Lee Stevenson, sorry I am not the best editor.
We cannot avoid arguments or disagreements because we all are imperfect. Something to keep in mind is arguing shows a lack of humility. Something God mentioned often is for us to be humble. To apologize to someone it takes a lot of humility. If we have wronged someone whether by accident because of imperfect human flaws inherited from Adam and Eve or whether it was a lapse of judgment on our part. The bible stresses the importance of apologizing. It is not a matter of being right or wrong but it is about doing what would please God.
The apostle Paul was correct in what he had stated when defending himself, but Jesus taught we were to obey authority figures and not speak ill of them. We have to keep in mind the apostle Paul could not see very well. So when a high priest ordered Paul to be struck , Paul chastised him in front of everyone which was not appropriate. When Paul was told he had spoken that way to a high priest he apologized.
Often times we may not want to apologize because we feel we are right, or we feel it may make us look weak. Even if we are right we are supposed to be peaceable with all including our enemies. It is not our right to judge others. We also have to keep in mind we are imperfect humans and we ourselves error so what right do we have to continually hold someone’s else error against them? We are to set the example for others, by showing humility and showing our desire for peace we set an example for others.
There is a difference between arguing and discussing something. Arguing involved pride. We are warned many times in the bible about the dangers of pride. Often times when we let pride cloud our thinking we may say or do things we should not do. Once we have done that we cannot take them back. Even if we apologize the hurtful things said or done can live emotional scars that are lasting. We also have to keep in mind sometimes we may not fully understand the circumstances surrounding something and may not have a full picture of all things involved. For example Rahab had told a lie to some men who were seeking seeking to capture two of God’s people. We know it is wrong to lie most of the time. But we have to look at the whole picture. Rahab was dealing with men who opposed God. These men were wanting to impede or stop the two men from fulfilling the task they had been set out to do. It was Rahab’s faith in the true God that inspired her to protect those two men. Because of her faith it saved her whole family. So it was righteous on her part because her reason’s for lying was to protect God’s people. What if we had not seen the whole picture concerning Rahab and we only knew that she had lied? It could lead us to falsely assume she was a liar.
Many arguments arise because of our differences, because we may not have the full picture or even because we have made assumptions, something we are told not to do. If we make assumptions it means we are judging someone. We are warned do not judge or we will be judged likewise. Often times the bible will warn about watching what we say and shortly after warns about guarding our hearts, so what we say can effect our hearts. We are to let love guide all we do. We should be showing the fruits of the spirit. If we make assumptions, say hurtful things or make accusations towards someone we may say things we should not say and this can effect the way we treat the person in the future which could mean we would not pursue peace with this person. Once we respond in a way God would not want us to we have opened a place for Satan in our hearts. It only takes a little space for him to be able to draw us away from God.
If we have an issue with someone the bible tells us to talk to the person about it and to keep it confidential. If they do not listen then we are to take along two or more witnesses who can validate what we have said. If we do not have witnesses then we should pray to Jehovah about it. He will set matters straight. If the person does not make things right then we are to treat them as a person of the nations. In other words we should be careful about associating with them, but we should still remain peaceable if we cannot avoid this person. We should forgive them and leave the Judging to God. We should not gossip or tell others about what has occurred because in doing so we are smearing our own reputation and we could even look like we are lying. Not only this but this could cause divisions. We are warned to stay away from those who cause divisions. Also what if the person eventually apologized or set matters straight and we had gossiped and told everyone about what has occurred. They could not have a preconceived opinion on this person, and start judging the person. It is not our place to judge others.
What if the person says hurtful things . Maybe they talk condescending towards you or they even make fun of things you may like? Maybe they make false assumption or accusations. This tells you something about the person. As discussed above if you talked to the person about it and they do not apologize it reveals something about them as a person. It shows they lack humility. False pride drives that type of behavior. The person has to think more of themselves then they should in order to participate in that type of behavior. We must do our best not to imitate that type of behavior. If you have discussed it with the person and they do not apologize and try to set things straight then it is between them and God and it would be wise to avoid such ones when possible. Keep in mind even when we are hurt, falsely accused, or wronged it is not about winning or losing. We should do all we can to bring God glory. If we engage a person who is not discussing things rationally and who just wants to win or only see their side in matters then it is clear the discussion is not going to be fruitful. This is when it would be wise to just let it go and pray on it. We are imperfect humans and can get angry. The bible warns us about going to bed angry it can leave a place for Satan and he could use that to draw us into sinning. When someone is presumptuous we should not respond likewise. The bible has a warning about being presumptuous in “(Proverbs 11:2) 2 When presumptuousness comes, dishonor will follow, But wisdom is with the modest ones.” So we should try to be modest, and not let someone else presumptuousness draw us into the same behavior. If we are wronged we are told not to wrong the person back, in doing so we will have left the evil conquer us. We should do our best to conquer the evil with the good.
I can say personally there were times a person may have wronged me or said things they should not have said. I responded likewise to them. Later I had learned the person was dealing with a lot and I became the object for them to release the stress on. Though that is not the appropriate way to handle their stressful situation saying or doing hurtful things back we are adding to their stress and possibly if they are going through a hurtful time we could be adding to their hurt. So if we respond with the same behavior towards them we share in the guilt of acting in a way we should not, and we would have the guilt of causing someone more burden. In times like these we have to work extra hard to show the fruits of the spirit. If we have a disagreement with someone we need to do our best not to judge them. If we are wronged we need to forgive them, keeping in mind we are imperfect and make errors also. We are told we will be forgiven as we forgive others. “(Galatians 5:22-26) 22 On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Moreover, those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed to the stake the flesh together with its passions and desires. 25 If we are living by spirit, let us also go on walking orderly by spirit. 26 Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another.”
Most of all we should let love guide all we do. Keep in mind if a person does something hurtful towards you it says more about them then it does about you. Try not to take it personal but see this as an opportunity to work twice as hard to show the fruits of the spirit and to let love guide all you do. Apologize if you do respond in a way you should not, keeping in mind it is not about being right or wrong but it is about pleasing Jehovah and doing your best to imitate Jesus. Jesus was falsely accused many times and treated very bad and he never responded likewise, he imitated what he had seen his father do. Before we go to bed instead of holding the anger or frustration in pray to God on it, do not dwell on it so we do not leave a place for Satan in our hearts. “(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
If we are wrong or commit an error towards someone we should do our best to set matters straight and apologize. We do not have to be wrong to apologize. If we argued with someone we had wronged them whether they had started the argument or may have even been wrong and falsely accused us we should apologize. When we fall short or wrong someone we should confess our error and pray over it. Study the bible so we can learn how to overcome our short coming so we can draw closer to God. “(James 5:16) 16 Therefore, openly confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. A righteous man’s supplication has a powerful effect.” Most of all be forgiving. Just as God freely forgives us we should forgive others. When we have wronged someone or have been in error and we repent and are forgiven , remember how good that feels. Freely forgiving others draws us closer to God and it does not leave a place for Satan in our hearts.
(1 Peter 5:6, 7) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time, 7 while you throw all your anxiety on him,.
(1 John 1:8-10) 8 If we make the statement, “We have no sin,” we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we make the statement, “We have not sinned,” we are making him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 2:1-6) 2 My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. 2 And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s. 3 And by this we realize that we have come to know him, namely, if we continue observing his commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet does not observe his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in this person. 5 But whoever does observe his word, in this person the love of God has truly been made perfect. By this we know that we are in union with him. 6 The one who says .
(Acts 23:1-5) 23 Looking intently at the Sanʹhe·drin, Paul said: “Men, brothers, I have behaved before God with a perfectly clear conscience down to this day.” 2 At this the high priest An·a·niʹas ordered those standing by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him: “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall. Do you sit to judge me according to the Law and at the same time violate the Law by commanding me to be struck?” 4 Those standing by said: “Are you insulting the high priest of God?” 5 And Paul said: “Brothers, I did not know he was high priest. For it is written, ‘You must not speak injuriously of a ruler of your people.
(Joshua 2:1-10) 2 Then Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out from Shitʹtim as spies. He told them: “Go and inspect the land, especially Jerʹi·cho.” So they went and came to the house of a prostitute named Raʹhab, and they stayed there. 2 The king of Jerʹi·cho was told: “Look! Israelite men have come in here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 At that the king of Jerʹi·cho sent word to Raʹhab: “Bring out the men who came and are staying in your house, for they have come to spy out the entire land.” 4 But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said: “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 And at dark when the city gate was about to be closed, the men went out. I do not know where the men went, but if you quickly chase after them, you will catch up with them.” 6 (However, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among stalks of flax laid in rows on the roof.) 7 So the men chased after them in the direction of the Jordan at the fords, and the city gate was shut once the pursuers had gone out. 8 Before the men lay down to sleep, she came up to them on the roof. 9 She said to the men: “I do know that Jehovah will give you the land and that the fear of you has fallen upon us. All the inhabitants of the land are disheartened because of you, 10 for we heard how Jehovah dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amʹor·ites, Siʹhon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction on the other side of the Jordan.
(Proverbs 25:8-10) 8 Do not rush into a legal dispute, For what will you do later if your neighbor humiliates you? 9 Plead your case with your neighbor, But do not reveal what you were told confidentially, 10 So that the one listening will not put you to shame And you spread a bad report that cannot be recalled.
(Matthew 5:23-26) 23 “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away. First make your peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift. 25 “Be quick to settle matters with your legal opponent, while you are with him on the way there, so that somehow the opponent may not turn you over to the judge, and the judge to the court attendant, and you get thrown into prison. 26 I say to you for a fact, you will certainly not come out of there until you have paid over your last small coin.
(Proverbs 4:23-25) 23 Above all the things that you guard, safeguard your heart, For out of it are the sources of life. 24 Put crooked speech away from you, And keep devious talk far away from you. 25 Your eyes should look straight ahead, Yes, fix your gaze straight ahead of you.
(Ephesians 4:25-27) 25 Therefore, now that you have put away deceit, each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another. 26 Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry; 27 do not give the Devil an opportunity.
(Matthew 18:15-17) 15 “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.
(Proverbs 20:19) 19 A slanderer goes about revealing confidential talk; Do not associate with one who loves to gossip.
(Romans 16:17-20) 17 Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them. 18 For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones. 19 Your obedience has come to the notice of all, and so I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise as to what is good, but innocent as to what is evil. 20 For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. May the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus be with you.
(Romans 12:17-21) 17 Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah.” 20 But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head.” 21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.
(Luke 6:37, 38) 37 “Moreover, stop judging, and you will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and you will by no means be condemned. Keep on forgiving, and you will be forgiven. 38 Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.
(1 Corinthians 16:14) 14 Let everything you do be done with love.
(Proverbs 28:13) The one covering over his transgressions will not succeed, But whoever confesses and abandons them will be shown mercy.
(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.