Are we generating life or strife?


Why is it that so often I return from social converse with a spirit worn, a lack, a disappointment—even a sting of shame, as for some low, unworthy thing?

  —George MacDonald

Have you noticed how these days, almost every conversation, much of social media, articles we read and many presentations we watch end up being political, one-sided, full of divisiveness, rancor, conspiracy theories, threatening rhetoric and fueled by so much fear that you walk away feeling a deep sense of unrest or as George MacDonald describes, as if you’ve been engaged in “some low, unworthy thing?” There’s so much fighting going on that it is quite tempting to jump in and take a few swings, but then how do you feel later?

Our good friend Dave Roper has reminded me today of the words of Paul to his disciple, Timothy, when he said, “Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition …” (2 Timothy 2;22-25). And that “opposition” he’s referring to is not in opposition to my point of view, but in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I must admit, all this strife can suck you in. In fact, the reason the Catch is so late today, is that I got literally sucked into some articles in the newspaper and a few videos online before I realized how late it was. That’s when I ran into Dave Roper’s blog and the George MacDonald quote and decided I needed to share this with all of you because I don’t think I’m alone here.

What do we talk about? What are we likely to pass around the internet? Are they things that will help others pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace? Will they help us call on the Lord with a pure heart? Will I walk away from the encounter feeling like I have made a contribution to someone’s life, or will I feel that I have only generated more strife?

The “youthful lusts” Paul warns us to flee is not sexual lust but the immature zeal for foolish and ignorant disputes that go nowhere.

It’s time to think twice about what we are pursuing. We are building the church of Jesus Christ. We are pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace. We are focusing on preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ask the Spirit to instruct you: “Is what I am about to say or pass on going to help do that?”

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This entry was posted in Christianity and politics, diversity, politics, relationships and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Are we generating life or strife?

  1. Peter Leenheer says:

    John you have a great point here. I get sucked in all the time too. It is like a temptation floats by like a trial balloon and before I know I grab it.. You made me think about why I comment to the Catch. My comments miss your point from time to time and I feel bad about that. The most satisfaction I get is when the comments engage in uplifting conversation written by vulnerable people who all seek to know, serve and love Jesus.

    Christ won our authority back through his redeeming work. We now need to use that authority to transfer the Kingdom of God back into this world. Grace turned outward. Satan’s kingdom out, Jesus Kingdom in. It was not for nothing that he told us to pray…”Thy Kingdom come”. So I comment to be engaged in the old going out and the new coming in as well.
    Thank you for speaking from the bottom of your heart. No rather for showing us what a vulnerable soul you are. Thank You. Your humility simply jumped out at me as it does so often, and it softens my heart and my comments. It makes me thoughtful and think twice before I answer your daily meditation so that I contribute rather than create discor.

  2. Peter Leenheer says:


  3. Sandie says:

    Some random thoughts:
    “If you think you have something to say, raise your hand…and put it over your mouth.”
    Something I got out of the Peer Leadership training I received compliments of the NYS public school system: If you feel you are led to state a negative concerning a person or situation, you must first state TWO positives (honestly) about that person or situation. Otherwise, you don’t possess enough knowledge about either to have the right to your negative opinion. This was a practice I brought into my later teen, music and biker ministries.
    I too, feel somewhat unclean after being drawn into some discussions. The Holy Spirit working in me brings me back to those I shared these things with and I apologize. Funny how that winds up opening other conversations….

  4. Gary Mintchell says:

    Thank you, John. I get sucked into that on Facebook–and I only look once a day for no more than 15 minutes (mostly because I “own” the page for a couple of ministry-oriented projects). Then I get sucked in.

    The teaching to Timothy is so right for every year since. Avoid those useless disputes. In church and out.

    And, thank you, Sandie. The right teaching for me for this moment. (And if it appears in my blog this week, I’ll attribute it.)

    Keep on going!

  5. Mark D Seguin says:

    Liked Today’s Catch it reminded me of something I use to often practice in asking myself if I read this article, remark on this Facebook post or watch this New or TV program how will it help make my life better?

    TY Pastor John for reminded me of doing that a whole lot more…

    • jwfisch says:

      Thank you, Mark. Good question!

      • Sandie says:

        Another question or questions I have to ask myself: Will it make someone else’s life better? Am I building up (having a good influence)? Or am I tearing down (spreading poison)? Too many times I’m guilty of the latter.

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