“Live and let live.”

“Stay in your lane.”

“Are you judging me?”

“Do you think you’re better than me?”

These are phrases that are used to portray the common philosophy of people living in this secular society.  The concept of “tolerance” has been spread across our schools and universities with the hopes of degrading any sense or moral compass and to tear down societal norms based on common sense and biblical principles.  

This standard of avoiding confrontation and not speaking out against wrong may seem well-intentioned and often needed in social media for things that do not concern us, but what about issues that do affect our life and family?  Unfortunately, the attitude of appeasement and lack of confrontation has invaded our churches and restricted spiritual leadership from proclaiming the truth and warning of danger with boldness.

When it comes to confrontation, the Bible divides it into two categories: striving and scorning.  Although both may be generated with the desire to correct or point out an issue, their motives and outcomes can be very different.

God gives liberty for striving (contention) in the right circumstances.

Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. (Proverbs 3:30)

Christianity is not a lifestyle of passivism.  Christ gave us clear examples during His earthly ministry that there are some things worth defending.

Decide ahead of time what you are willing to fight over.  Choose carefully and limit it to only the essentials. 

Here are a few examples:

Three Causes to Strive Over

  1. Truth – Word of God, Salvation
  2. Testimony
  3. Team―Family, Co-laborers in Christ

The difference between striving and scorning is that scorning is contention without a cause or positive side effect.  Scorning comes from the motivation of needing to be right and feel superior, even at the expense of others.

Proverbs attributes scorning to a form of oppression.

Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. (Proverbs 3:31)

How could we envy the scorner?  Often, people will align publicly with the scorner to feel included and superior.  They appear popular for a time, but Proverbs warns us of the end of their behavior. 

Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools. (Proverbs 3:34-35)

Three Steps to Scorning

1. Froward

For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. (Proverbs 3:32)

Froward means “contrary.”  Do you find yourself always having to make your point or express your opinion?

2. Hurtful

The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.  (Proverbs 3:33)

Wickedness is “a moving to hurt others by actions or speech.”  Scorning is an act that is based in selfishness. The result of the argument is for you to win no matter what the damage to the other party.  Hurtful speech is a common tactic when the target does not immediately bend to your will.  

3. Pride

Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. (Proverbs 3:34)

Why are you criticizing others?  The root cause is usually thinking higher of yourself than you should.  Degrading others makes you look better, further feeding your superiority complex.

We live in a generation that still needs to hear the boundaries of right and wrong.  However, we do not have a license to hurt and condemn others through our speech. Before we decide to confront someone in an area where we feel they have strayed, we must ask these questions:

Is my desire to help, or to be right?

Does this matter fall into my categories of causes to strive over?

If the answer to both questions is incorrect, we may be moving into the dangerous territory of being a scorner.

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease. (Proverbs 22:10)

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Matt Waterhouse

Matt Waterhouse, GSBC Chairman of the Music Department

Bro. Waterhouse serves as the Chairman of the Music Department at Golden State Baptist College. He also serves as a pianist and singer at NVBC.