It is not a possibility that different individuals always agree on everything. Each one has a different individuality and hence different view points. So disagreements are unavoidable. Quarrel is a heated argument / disagreement between people. It usually involves yelling and screaming to a great extent. It is very common in a household with small children. Those who have siblings know very well what it means to quarrel. Most of us would have had numerous quarrels with our siblings while growing up and our parents would have had tough times handing it. We would also have quarreled with friends, cousins, spouses, colleagues and even parents when we do not agree with them on certain decisions or issues. Is quarrelling the right way of handling disagreements?
Let us see what the treasure book has to say about this.
OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK
Clue 1: Is quarrelling alright?
A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.Proverbs 18:19
During quarrels, people will be angry and they speak without thinking. This can hurt and offend others who are involved. A person who is offended is harder to win than a strong city. And for this person, these quarrels / conflicts becomes a stronghold like the bars of a castle. It is not right to hurt and offend others.
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.2 Timothy 2:23-25
So, the word of God asks us to avoid silly disagreements / arguments or disputes as they can lead into conflicts. Being children of God serving the kingdom, we are asked to abstain from quarrelling. It is not alright for a child of God to quarrel. However, if unavoidable disagreements arise, we should deal with it being gentle and patient. We should always try to correct others in humility.
Clue 2: Behavioral traits leading to quarrel
By pride comes nothing but strife,Proverbs 13:10
But with the well-advised is wisdom.
A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.Proverbs 15:18
Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.Proverbs 22:10
As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.Proverbs 26:21
Pride, anger and scoffing kindles quarrels and strife. The same way how wood brings up fire, one who is argumentative and who speaks controversial statements will arouse quarrels. A person who mocks should be put away as quarrel / strife is his kin. Similarly a person who is quick to anger also stirs up quarrel, but the one who is slow to anger will put out / diminish quarrels. Keep yourselves from these traits to abstain from quarrelling.
Clue 3: Handling disagreements
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.Titus 3:9-11
The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.Proverbs 17:14
A soft answer turns away wrath,Proverbs 15:1
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,Philippians 2:14-15
First of all, we need to avoid silly disputes that are useless and unprofitable. However, if unavoidable disagreements arise, make sure not to elevate it to quarreling. Once quarrel starts, it is similar to water released from a dam – there is no way of stopping it. Therefore, stop it before it reaches the state of quarrelling. Put your points across with humility, using non-provocative words in a soft tone without yelling, screaming or being angry. This way we can arrive at possible and agreeable, wise solutions.
Let us now see examples from the word of God on how disputes were dealt with.
Example 1: Genesis 13:5-9
Abraham and Lot lived in tents. They were rich and had great and numerous possessions. But the land they lived in was not able to support them together. There began strife between Abraham’s servants and Lot’s servants. So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen. Please separate from me and choose an area to live. I will take the opposite direction.
Here Abraham acted very wise. As soon as he knew about the strife, he addressed it and tried to find a solution. He was gentle and humble giving the other person the right to choose thereby avoiding any kinds of strife or quarreling between them.
Example 2: Genesis 26:20-22
In the olden days, people had to dig wells for water to sustain their families and livestock. Isaac moved from place to place like his father, living in tents. So each place they choose to stay, they dug wells. One such time when Isaac’s herdsmen dug well and found water, the herdsmen of the area quarreled with them, saying, “The water is ours.” So they left its custody and dug another well. The herdsmen quarreled over that one also. Isaac moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it.
Isaac and his servants did not quarrel with the men of the place even though the well was rightfully theirs but left it two times in a row. Issac and his men were very patient and gentle to let go of the custody of the wells they dug. This act of theirs made the people not to quarrel with them a third time avoiding strife and quarrels.
Both Abraham and Isaac avoided disputes and quarrels identifying them as unprofitable.
Quarrelling isn’t the right way of handling disagreements.
Pride, anger and scoffing kindles quarrels and strife.
Avoid silly disputes that are useless and unprofitable.
Be gentle and patient. Put across possible solution in humility and in a soft tone.
Father, we thank you for teaching us how to handle disagreements. Thank you for shining your light on this. Help us to handle disagreements in a proper and productive way. Help us to be gentle, patient and be humble in all out ways. In Jesus name, Amen.