I turned off the news, saddened by story after story of angry, divisive people hurting one another. As we watch 2 Timothy play out before our eyes, I am thankful that God told us beforehand that these days would arrive just before His coming.
“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:2-4)
This passage is not meant to scare us, but to prepare us. If we know what is coming, we can prepare a response as God directs and navigate the current landscape successfully.
As we see the fulfillment of these verses, how should we respond? Although we should vote and pray for those in authority, we should not look to the political arena for the change. Change comes through revival and hearts that are submitted to Christ. We must first examine our own spiritual walk. Have we compromised the Word-watering down God’s commands in response to the culture? Are we praying in faith, believing that God will accomplish His will in our lives? Do we love unconditionally, like Jesus?
Next, we need to study and disciple other believers in understanding Scripture. We cannot follow God’s commands if we don’t know what the Bible says. This involves attending church and daily study of the Word. There are great Bible teachers on the internet who teach verse by verse, going deep in studying from the original languages of the Bible. Additionally, many written Bible studies or phone apps are available to enhance our understanding of Scripture. With so many resources at our disposal, delving into deeper study is easier than ever.
First Peter 3:8-9 provides guidance on how to respond to the divisive environment we experience frequently. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” If we desire blessings, we need to bless others and not respond with anger. This proves challenging when tempers flare and hurtful words are hurled in our direction. But with God’s help, we can.
Romans 12:18 and 21 remind us to live in peace with others, whenever possible. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Notice, that these verses state “when possible”. There are times outside our control when others refuse to live with us peaceably. However, even in those situations, we should respond with blessing and not with evil.
These verses do not ask us to compromise our beliefs. We must side with Scripture; however, our response to those who disagree with us should be one of love and respect. Our best response is to listen to understand their perspective, even if we disagree.
As we see the events of Second Timothy play out before us, let’s prepare our response in accordance with God’s Word and encourage a return to biblical standards every opportunity we have. If we respond as God directs, it may open the door to a conversation that leads a person to a saving knowledge of Christ. That would be the best outcome possible.