Monday, October 29, 2012

2 Timothy 3:3

Summary retelling of 2 Timothy 3:3

Paul speaks a little more against human nature: lacking love for others, unwilling to be reconciled to others, slanderous, lacking self-control, untamed, not loving good.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
The first word I want to pick out of that list is “slanderous.”  The Greek word for slanderous is “diabolos.”  Yes, it is the root word for one of our names of Satan: Diablo.  It is also related to the word diabolical.  It literally means to spread slander.  However, it can just as easily be translated as spreading gossip.  Yes, that’s right.  When we gossip about people, we slander them.  From a religious perspective, this action is so offensive to community that we took the action and applied it directly to a name for Satan.  Satan is the chief slanderer (Diablo).  When we gossip and therefore spread slander, we are doing the very work of the hands of Satan.

Does this understanding of the word help you also understand why gossip/slander is such a problem among humanity?  Have you ever gossiped?  What was the outcome of the gossip?

Second Thought:
I’d like to go back now and pick up the two words that appear before the word “slanderer.”  Paul says that human nature lacks an inherent love for others as well as having a nature that resists being reconciled to others.  I see this all over the place in this world – and it ties in quite nicely with the concept of being a self-monger.  As proof, ask yourself this question: if you see a poor person on the street, how likely are you to reach into your wallet and buy the person a meal without asking anything in return?  Or ask yourself another question while thinking back to high school and middle school: when you saw a kid being bullied and made fun of by a whole crowd, how likely were you to stand up against the crowd and protect the one being made fun of?  Human nature wants to protect itself far more than it wants to reach out in love towards another.  This leads into the next word, which has to do with reconciliation.  In your experience, is it easier to stay angry at someone who has offended you or is it easier to genuinely forgive them and not hold any sort of grudge at all?  You see?  Human nature really is a self-monger.  We want to preserve ourselves.  We want to hold onto our anger against others.  So often with us, it all comes down to what “I” want.

Are these words true about you?  When are you most likely to display a genuine lack of love for the other person?  When are you most likely to hold a grudge and refuse to be reconciled?  How does each of these qualities help destroy community?

Third Thought:
Paul also talks about human beings as lacking self-control and being untamed.  Human beings are passionate people – and in this respect I think we are regressing.  Look at a typical television commercial.  How many commercials do you see that are based on your inner passion or your inner desires?  How many commercials are based on using logic or reasoning?  The same is true about social media.  How many times do you see a Facebook post or a tweet that shows a person posted out of impulse without being able to control their reaction and think?  Or think about dating.  How many couples have you heard about that ended up doing things they didn’t plan on doing simply because they didn’t have what it takes to actually display self-control?  I think Paul is right.  When it comes to our hearts and our inner passion, we are largely untamed.  We need help to tame us.  It takes much work.

Do you see people around you who are interested in taming their inner passions?  Do you see people who are more interested in following their inner passion?  What’s the danger of living a life that is “untamed?”  How do we become tamed?

Passage for Tomorrow: 2 Timothy 3:4
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