Self-Control is Rare.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be… without self-control…have nothing to do with such people.
It’s hard to leave comments in social media. People don’t want to discuss much anymore. If you don’t disagree with them, they rant and rave. Their Number One method of discussion involves insults and name-calling and little-to-no exchange of ideas. Just read a political comment thread and you’ll see a ton of comments showing a huge lack of self-control.
The Bible includes this lack in the renowned list of mis-behavior we can expect in the last days (which is NOW). Those terrible times are upon us and it’s easy to see the words and deeds of the vast majority of people who lack self-control.
We now live in a world where never having your feelings hurt is the highest priority. Wounded emotions rank high on the excuse list of reasons to riot and file lawsuits, even over contrary opinions. “You hurt my feelings because you won’t bake me a cake.” SUE.
For those who speak and those who listen, a degree of self-control is essential. A contrary opinion is not a “hate crime”. Disagreeing with you does not mean I am a racist xenophobe, bitterly clinging to my guns and religion.
Too many people are perpetually offended and others are unable to express their opinions & points of view without becoming upset ~> angry ~> insulting~> livid ~> threatening ~> violent.
Both the speaker and the listener need to have self-control in order to have any kind of discussion beyond the latest weather report.
And the Bible actually says we are to have nothing to do with people who do not have self-control. If they can’t do anything but argue….and worse….then we are to avoid them.
Control Your Speech and Control Your Behavior
Do You have a Filter on Your Mouth?
That *FILTER* used to be known as Self-Control.
Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.* Of course, if someone is not a Christian, self-control can be very hard to learn. Our culture no longer values working and waiting for something good to happen. Instead, kids are taught immediate gratification by their parents who themselves can’t work, teach and wait for the kids to learn not to scream and misbehave to get what they want.
…the ability to wait for something to happen instead of demanding instant gratification.
…the ability to deny yourself the pleasure of mouthing off to someone you dislike.
…the ability to deny yourself taking control of another person through anger and intimidation.
The Bible says older men, older women, younger men and younger women should be taught self-control. That just about covers everyone.* Even children should be taught self-control. Children are to be taught how to grow up and be an adult who practices self-control, not fail to learn and just maintain childishness their entire life.
Self control is one form of protection for your soul (your mind, will and emotions). Just like a city whose walls are broken through.* Or a country with no border protection or wall at the southern border. It is open for invasion and destruction.
Guard your mouth.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.*
Your mouth can get you into deep trouble. If you don’t learn how to control it, you will live to deeply regret it, sooner or later. Shut it instead of saying the wrong thing.
Shut it instead of saying waaaaaay too much.
Maybe what we have to say isn’t worth saying.
First of all, is it unwholesome – corrupt – putrid – rotten – worthless? Do not even let that out of your mouth. It won’t benefit those who listen or build them up.*
Are you trying to argue with me? Do I return what you say to me with an argument? It is better not to have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, but instead try to calm a quarrel. Only fools (morally deficient people) are quick to quarrel. It is to your honor to avoid strife.* Avoiding strife is practicing self-control.
Are you able to discuss contrary subjects with me without getting upset? Am I able to receive your contrary opinions with getting upset? Yes? Then we both have exhibited self-control. You might have very valid information to give out. Just try to state what you have to say in a matter-of-fact manner.
Say it, Listen, Speak Again, Be Silent.
When does a discussion turn into an argument? Maybe the Biblical principal of “two or three” can apply to points shared in a discussion.
Two or three prophets are encouraged to speak before other weigh what is said.*
Paul instructed the Corinthian church to let every matter be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses, the same law that was given to Israel in Deuteronomy.*
Say what you have to say. Listen to the response. If you have set off negative emotions in the other person, consider if you should speak again if you wish. Pray for a few seconds before giving a 2nd response. That is self-control in action. Then say no more. No matter what.
Do You Have Self-Control?
Instead of getting so offended that we “un-friend”, “un-like” someone else, maybe we should just refuse to be so adamant that we would rather turn another human being out of our life. That person could be someone who is reaching out to God and your reaction can be a make-it or break-it moment for them. Being right isn’t worth being obnoxious. There’s no such thing as being a jerk for Jesus.
The tongue has the power of life and death.* Don’t unfriend your friends. Just stop arguing with them.
It’s a matter of having self-control.
* Galatians 5:23, Proverbs 25:28, James 1:26, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 15:18, Proverbs 29:22, 1 Corinthians 14:29, 2 Corinthians 13:1, Deuteronomy 19:15, Proverbs 18:21