Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing…” If we were to look at the social media of the Church, we will find that many tend to complain about everything and spend their time arguing. What seems to be a spiritual battlefield, a defending of the faith, is often nothing more than online complaining and disputing.
Let’s first consider the danger of complaining. In the New Testament, we are reminded of the people of Israel who “complained” throughout their wilderness wanderings (Ex. 15:24; Num. 14:2), and the Scriptures tell us that many were destroyed because of it (1 Cor. 10:10-11). While their complaining was verbally directed at Moses, God took it personally (Num. 14:27). Why? Because complaining reveals a spirit of unhappiness and dissatisfaction (faithlessness!). So, what shall we do? Replace complaining with thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for. We have salvation in Christ Jesus and every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3). We have the assurance of a Heavenly Father will provide for our needs (Matt. 6:31-33). If anything, the people of God should be known as people of thanksgiving, not complaining (1 Thess. 5:18).
Next, let’s consider the danger of disputing. Let’s be clear; this is not describing the discussions of differences between individuals who seek truth, but rather the kind of “useless wranglings” condemned in 1 Timothy 6:3-5. According to 2 Timothy 2:14-16, Christians are “not to strive about words to no profit… but shun profane and idle babblings…” Yet, many fill their social media with arguing, foolish disputes, contentions, and striving about the Law of Christ. Yet, God commands us to “avoid” these things (Tit. 3:9). Do not get me wrong, I am all for healthy discussions, if both parties are interested in truth, but let’s be wise and consider where we reason with one another.
The most concerning thing about disputing is that it can destroy our ability to convince the world of Jesus (John 17:20-23). The Church must be different in how we handle our differences. It takes effort to develop a “oneness of mind” (Phil. 2:2) and we must handle our differences with the attitudes of gentleness, patience, and humility (2 Tim. 2:23-26). As His children, we can make a positive impact on the world for Jesus, if we can disagree, without being disagreeable.