Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2 Timothy 2:23-26 -- On Questions, Meekness, and Recovering Ourselves

"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
2 Timothy 2:23-26

I am a big fan of inquiry-based learning, and I love questions, so it was interesting to me reading this and several other verses this morning about questions and questioning.  It seems like in the scriptures (and probably in life) there are a lot of people who use questions as weapons.  Here, we're asked to avoid foolish and unlearned questions.  I don't think that means that questions are a bad thing, but God is pointing out that we really use them badly sometimes.  Questions are awesome if we want to know something about the gospel, and we start praying about our questions and searching the scriptures for answers to them.  Questions are awesome as the impetus to learning and instruction.  But they aren't good as spears, to hurt whoever you are arguing with, or as quicksand, to trap people into contradicting themselves.
Paul encourages us to be gentle unto all men.  I really like that idea.  We shouldn't be trying to trap anyone or starting conflicts at all.  Instead, as it says, "in meekness" we should teach.  This makes me think of my sort of very large problem with authority.  I really hate, hate, hate doing things just because someone tells me to.  In fact, my first instinct when ordered to do something is to either do nothing at all, or consider the opposite course.  And I think that when we are teaching others with that same kind of instinctual rebelliousness, which maybe we all have at times(?), it pays to be meek.  When we are meek, we aren't ordering anyone to do anything.  We aren't claiming to be the authority, or better, or wiser.  We're just offering what works for us, in case someone wants to try it.
I really like, also, the idea of "recovering ourselves."  It is so true that we can never fix other people, even though we often think we can, and often start out trying.  The only people we can fix are ourselves, because we have to want it, and we have to be open to it, or God can't heal us, and no one else can help us either.  But if we are open to it, then other people can help us with instruction, and God can offer us repentance, and we can pull ourselves out of the traps that we have blindly walked into.
Today, let's be gentle.  Let's use questions wisely, in seeking learning, and not as swords.  Let's be meek in teaching others, and let's work on being open to learning from others and from God.  Let's recover ourselves out of the traps that we are in, with God's help, and seek the truth, even if it isn't always what we want to hear.

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