Martin Luther asked, "If two goats meet each other in a narrow path above a pool of water, what do they do? They cannot turn back, and they cannot go around each other, and there is not an inch of spare room. If they butt each other, both will fall into the water and drown. What will they do, do you suppose? What would you do? Well, nature has taught the one goat to lie down and let the other goat pass over it, and then they both get to the end of the way safe and sound." Lesson: When we are at an impasse, if I am willing to lie down and let you pass over me, then we both will be saved.
Paul stated to the Corinthian believers, "It has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren," I Corinthians 1:11 (RSV). "Quarreling" means "strife, wrangling, and contention." The word quarreling also described battles in war. Robertson and Plummer say, "The divisions became noisy." It has been correctly said, "To get the best of an argument, stay out of it."
In Proverbs 15:1, we read, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Endless quarreling among themselves of the tribes of Israel hastened the end of Solomon's empire after his death. Civil war resulted, with the northern ten tribes seceding, and following Jeroboam. Solomon's son, Rehoboam, formed Judah in the south, with Jerusalem as the capital. In feud after feud, they shed each other's blood. Judah built Mizpah, a fortress on the main route, from Jerusalem to the north. Excavations at this ancient site revealed a wall twenty-six feet thick. This huge defensive wall shows how hard and bitter the division was between Israel and Judah. Remember, "The more arguments you win, the fewer friends you will have."
Proverbs 20:3 declares, "It is honorable for a man to stop quarreling, since any fool can start a quarrel." Two old women, for an hour or more, argued over whether or not the train window at their seat should be open. "I'll die of pneumonia if it is," one declared. "I'll die of suffocation, if it's not," demanded the other. At last, a very bored man in the seat across the aisle, suggested to the conductor, "Why don't you open it until one gets pneumonia, and then close it until the other suffocates. Then we'll have peace."
"Do all things without complaining and arguing," Philippians 2:14.
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida