Titus 3:9 “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”
Most people like to have the last word. When it come to arguments we each feel that our point of view is correct and work really hard to get our opponent to see our side. In a healthy relationship each party can give and take and come to an agreement, or at least agree to disagree, but sometimes the effort is not worth the trouble. Sometimes the effort produces more damage than help.
Any regular study of the Bible will reveal that humanity has not changed much: customs and living conditions are different, but the basic human nature stays the same. Then, as now, there are many who have turned from God’s point of view to their own understanding of the world. The desire for relevance and the need to justify sinful actions creates a tension between believers and unbelievers. While we as God’s children are called to point others to the truth from God, there are times when we must give up our aspiration for the last word.
Titus was a contemporary of Paul and Timothy. He traveled with them on some missionary journeys and carried the same heart of compassion for the lost. He was a non-Jewish believer whom Paul was training to carry on the gospel ministry. While stationed on the island of Crete, Titus received a letter from his spiritual mentor giving instructions on how to combat the lies that were circulating in this community. Paul instructed him to appoint elders, godly men to be teachers and examples of truth. He encouraged believers of all stations of life to live in a way pleasing to God and to help each other to grow in the faith. He encouraged compassion for the unsaved by reminding Titus that each of us were once lost in our own sin until God in His mercy reached out to us.
But Paul also told Titus that there comes a time when you must give up having the last word. Some factious men, not interested in the truth of God, would just want to argue their point of view. After warning these arguers of their error a couple of times, Paul told Titus to “let it go.” From then on he was to avoid their foolish controversies and disputes about God’s law. Working hard to have the last word on the matter would be a waste of time better put towards reaching those who were open to the truth. It would also give these men a platform for spewing their lies, thereby deceiving many others. In arguing against the truth so vehemently these men were sinning and condemning themselves.
It’s very hard to give up our desire for the last word – especially when we are confident we are right. We must be ready to defend our faith at a moments notice. But there are times when we need to “let it go” and stay away from foolish controversies that will come to no good. We can pray for these who are deceived, but God is the only One who can change their hearts.
Do you like to always come out on top when you are right? Defending and debating is not always what God wants His children to do. Sometimes we need to avoid an unprofitable conversation – but I’m not going to have the last word here. Read what the Bible says and decide for yourself.