DayBreaks for 3/14/17 – The Conflict Wars

DayBreaks for 3/14/17: The Conflict Wars

Ephesians 4:32 (MSG) – Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

It’s a story that is repeated on every elementary school playground, nearly every day in our country. Two fourth-graders get into it during recess; something about “he did this, so I did that” and it kind of goes south from there. When they get back to class, Billy trips Joey. After lunch, Joey breaks Billy’s pencil on purpose. When nobody is looking, Billy writes on Joey’s desk, and later, Joey steals Billy’s folder. After school, Billy and his friends face Joey and his friends, and they call each other names. Somebody gets hurt. Somebody else gets hurt worse. And then there is no telling when or if these conflicts will ever end.

Sound familiar? Sadly, that kind of tit-for-tat doesn’t just take place on the playground of children. We have all experienced this sort of escalating pettiness many times in our lives and in our more lucid moments we all readily admit that it is silly, right?

But let me suggest to you that we can remove the names “Billy” and “Joey” and insert the words “husband” and “wife” and the story is much the same. Or we could insert the names of two rival high schools, or two rival companies, or “The Hatfields” and “The McCoys.” Or Republicans and Democrats, or “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” or Israel and Palestine, or America and almost any Arab nation you care to name. Conflict at any level is conflict. And if not preventable, most conflict is at least resolvable…but not until one side refuses to retaliate and instead decides to reconcile.

It isn’t right to give in to something that is clearly proscribed by God’s Word. But we need to make sure that we are on solid footing when we take our stance that we aren’t engaging in schoolyard pettiness just because of something I “feel” or “think”. And if we find ourselves engaged in a conflict war with someone, let us seek resolution that leads to reconciliation rather than black eyes all around. Consider how Jesus could have dealt with us – and then think about how he actually did deal with us and our pettiness. Maybe just maybe, we can learn something from his example.

PRAYER: Father, help us to be the sort of people who seek to prevent conflict when appropriate, but if not, help us be more interested in reconciliation than in proving our point. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 02/17/11 – Recess and Marriages

DayBreaks 02/17/11 – Recess and Marriages

In case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you how it works in elementary school.  Picture two kids who are having some kind of dispute during recess.  When confronted by the yard monitor, Billy says, “Joey said I look funny, that my ears look like a pig – so I kicked him.”  That’s just the beginning.  After that, things get worse.  On the way back to class, Joey trips Billy for getting him in trouble with the yard monitor.  During lunch, Billy dumps milk into Joey’s desk.  Later, Joey steals Billy’s folder.  As the day progresses, tension mounts and the anger and rage get worse.  They meet on a back street and each gets egged on by their “friends.”  A punch is thrown, eyes will swell, blood flows.  This is the nature of conflict.

I said this was a scenario from elementary school.  It sounds tremendously childish, doesn’t it?  We think about it and say that Billy and Joey are being foolish, silly and immature.  And we would be right to say that.  We’re all much more mature and grown up now, right?

Are we really?  What if you took out the names of “Billy” and “Joey” and insert the words “husband” and “wife” (or your name and the name of your spouse) and the story could be much the same. Or, think about the political parties and how they snipe and take potshots at one another in such childish ways instead of working to resolve the problems.

Conflict at any level is still conflict, and more often than not, it can be prevented.  There are times when conflict can’t be avoided or prevented, but in most cases, conflict is resolvable, but for that to happen, it takes someone to take the first step…to refuse to retaliate, to turn the other cheek, and choose instead to seek the path of peace reconciliation.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

PRAYER: Jesus, help us to be peacemakers, especially in our families and marriages, that we can be mature and build each other up instead of trying to make others look foolish – and making ourselves foolish in the process.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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