What and Whom to Avoid
Today’s reading: 2 Timothy 4:9-Philemon 25
My selection: Titus 3:9-11
But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
My reflections: Paul warned both Timothy and Titus about avoiding foolish controversies and here he warns Titus also to avoid divisive people. Jesus taught His disciples how to handle sin in the church (Matthew 18:15ff), which in extreme cases of resistance to correction should result in excommunication.
Pastors and elders must know not only what to do but what not to do. There are many distractions such as controversial issues, stirred up weekly on blogs and social media, that have no merit. There are people who are bent on dividing congregations, often by criticizing the pastor (see 2 Corinthians 10-13). Paul said, basically, “do not suffer fools gladly.” According to Jesus (in the Matthew passage cited), there were to be two warnings and then, if there is no response, you administer excommunication and have no further contact with the person until or unless there is clear evidence of repentance.
My challenge: If you are a pastor, are you avoiding the distractions of foolish controversies that are unprofitable and worthless? Beware of being distracted by the latest novel theological idea floating around in cyberspace. Do you and your elders deal decisively with people who attempt to divide or distract the congregation? If you are a church member, are you a source of unity or of division in the congregation? Beware of seeking to show your intelligence by stirring up debates on worthless topics.
Pray that your role in the body of Christ will always be one of promoting the truth of the gospel and the unity of the saints.
Tomorrow’s reading: Hebrews 1:1-6:12