Words To Heal And Destroy
Words are important. They communicate with a precision unknown in other art forms. They should be the means of sharing truth and building relationships, and not a mechanism to destroy people and truth. This is especially true in the church. Unless the church is founded securely on the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, the fellowship can become a market-place of ideas and arguments based on personal passions and preferences.
Having exhorted Timothy to follow his teaching ( 2 Timothy 2:1-13), Paul instructs his young associate to strongly warn people who would not accept the truth. Their method was to undermine God’s truth by arguing about the Apostle’s teaching. In this way, strong minded people exercised power in the church and gathered a following which would become divisive. Party-spirit is a menace in the church, even though its advocates think they are doing a good thing – but it is merely a symptom of power-lust in the leaders and ends up ruining their followers.
Some people think that they can use the church to advance their own agenda and attract a following. Paul knew the destructive power behind such arguments, and repeatedly urged his associates to warn the churches (1 Timothy 5:21 ; 1:3-4; 4:7 ; 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9). Tolerance is good, but tolerating anything which will lead to the disruption of the church and the ruin of believers is wrong. Niceness which allows error to creep in is not Christian love. So we should reassess our tolerance to words which destroy, being careful ourselves and warning those for whom we have spiritual responsibility.
© Dr Paul Adams