When Joseph sent his brothers home with the glad tidings that he was still alive, he gave them a special instruction. "Do not quarrel on the way." He wanted to make sure that nothing happened to prevent Jacob from hearing the news of God’s miraculous provision and protection in his son’s life.
Quarreling is always destructive. It can begin easily enough with one selfish act or cutting remark. Quarrels are difficult to end because one party or the other will nearly always lose face. Proverbs 17:14 states wisely, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” The very nature of quarreling is that it tends to escalate and broaden until the situation reaches a standstill. No one wins, and nothing is resolved to satisfaction.
Gentleness is in direct opposition to quarreling. A gentle spirit prevents itself from striking back in anger. Proverbs 15:18 tells us that, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."
A gentle answer is a powerful tool. In Proverbs 25:15 we are told that, “With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.” Our words will have more impact and believability if we speak persuasively and courteously without losing our temper and “blowing up” at those who oppose us.
As Christians we can sometimes fall into quarreling as a result of the sincere conviction with which we hold our beliefs. We might have the attitude that we are right, and everyone else is wrong, and we need to say anything and everything to persuade those who disagree with us. We should evangelize, but we need be careful not to engage in argumentative and insulting quarrels that only alienate the unbeliever from the gospel.
Quarreling can also be a problem among Christians. Sadly, there is much conflict between Christian denominations and churches as to how they interpret Scripture. It is possible to become so passionate about our differences that we forget the many ways in which we agree.
Remember that Titus 3:2 tells us to avoid quarrels and be gentle. We want to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit at all times in our evangelism to the lost and our conversations with our brothers and sisters in Christ.