Knowing When to Walk Away
Today’s Key Passage – Titus 3:3-11 – CLICK HERE to read the key passage
I have many fond memories of riding around in my parents Chrysler as a young boy listening to music. The songs of The Statler Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Kenny Rogers were the staples of the car trips of my youth. My favorite at the time was a song entitled “The Gambler”. There is a famous line in that song that most of you are probably quite familiar with that says, “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” It might sound strange, but I thought about that song today as I read our key passage. In his remarks to Titus, the apostle Paul warns him not to get involved in petty arguments about doctrine. He says, “avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” (Vs. 9) Furthermore, Paul warns Titus about people causing division in the church. He says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Vs. 10) In the face of petty arguments, sometimes you have to know when to walk away. When dealing with a person who is causing disunity among believers however, you have to know when to run.
As followers of Christ, each of us at one time or another will likely be faced with a discussion or a debate about different aspects of Scripture. Since there are many passages in the Bible that can be interpreted differently, it is not uncommon for two people to disagree. Sometimes these discussions can be healthy. If all parties involved are interested in truth and practice the mutual respect of others’ opinions, these times of examination can lead to greater knowledge for everyone involved. When pride becomes a factor and people begin arguing because they are interested in being correct, these discussions can quickly turn into “foolish controversies about the law” which are “unprofitable and useless”. If this happens, sometimes the best course of action is to simply walk away. The more dangerous moments are when we face a person who is causing disunity in the faith. This might be a person who is arguing over basic aspects of Christianity in general, or it could be as simple as a person complaining about your church, your pastor, or the way things are done. In these times, sometimes walking away is not the best option, as you may be led to offer correction instead. Disunity is a virus that must be squelched quickly to avoid spreading, so offering a correction in love may be necessary to get the person back on track. If the person continues to promote disunity after repeated warnings, it might be time to run.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” There is a time for discussions about Scripture and there is a time to avoid those conversations. There is a time for correcting another who is promoting disunity and a time to stay away from him in hopes that he will repent. My prayer today is that each of us would have the discernment to know the right time for each action. My prayer is that we would all know when to walk away, and that we would all know when to run.
Can you think of any other lessons we can learn from today’s key passage? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.