Controversy, even for good causes, tends to create tunnel vision and to breed ungodly attitudes. We make one mountain into the whole mountain range, or one molehill into a mountain. What we see, or think we see, consumes our minds. We lose sight of the mountain range, the context in which both mountain and molehill can be seen and weighted for what they are. We may be exactly right about our particular issue, but narrowed truth becomes unbalanced truth. It loses the ability to listen and be corrected. Narrowed truth becomes half-truth, and broadly false. Narrowed truth loses love and the redemptive modus operandi. As it does so, it become reactive error. It becomes increasingly distorted. It becomes a vehicle for interpersonal conflict and self-righteousness. (p. 32)Youthful passions love controversy. They love quarrels. But such things can be so destructive. Controversy can lead people to war against one another on more than the issue immediately concerned. Sinful people that we are misinterpret one another. We too easily recall past wrongs, that love should have kept no record of. With the best intentions, we sin against God's people.
We too easily argue emotively and without careful consideration. We too easily react to others. We too easily become vitriolic and personal when we should be humble and serving. Emotive language and hyperbole are easier than careful thought. Opening our mouth is easier than taming our tongues. Having our say is more fun than considering our words. We speak on matters about which we're essentially ignorant. With the best intentions, we sin against God's people.
We too easily let ourselves get boxed into a corner we never meant to fight for. We get into a position it would be too costly to recant and repent of. And so we don't dare back down. We plot great things that define ourselves against others with whom we once stood side by side. Our good intentions end up treading others into the ground. We become transfixed like a rabbit in front of an oncoming car. And we lose perspective on what really matters, on the bonds of the Holy Spirit between us. We sweep aside the unity that Christ died to grant us. With the best intentions, we sin against God's people.
Of course, when I say "we", I mostly mean "I".