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 11/06/12 – It Takes Two to Fight

DayBreaks for 11/06/12 – It Takes Two to Fight

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV)

I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the organ grinder who used to go around in the streets with a little monkey to collect pennies. When I was a small kid on Friday nights, we’d drive in to the big town of Jefferson, Iowa (maybe 2000 people in those days – it’s not much large now!).  Farmers from all over the countryside would come and park their cars around the main square that surrounded the county courthouse (Jefferson was the county seat) and just enjoy a Friday night.  My memory seems that we just sat there in the car and watched people walk by.  Exciting stuff for an Iowa farm boy.  But, there was a corner that had a popcorn stand that was run by Cad Williams.  Can must have been in her 70’s at the time, but I thought she must be at least 100.  She was a sweet, dear lady – and in fact she was my Sunday school teacher for my early years.  She made the best popcorn I’ve ever eaten…but sometimes there would be an organ grinder there with a small monkey.

This next scenario didn’t take place there, but it is a true story about one such organ grinder.  It seems he had an especially clever monkey. On one occasion, when a big dog would break away from some children with whom it had been playing and made a dash for the monkey, the bystanders were surprised to see that the monkey did not seem in the least afraid. He stood perfectly still in evident curiosity, waiting for the dog to come up to him. This disconcerted the dog, for it would have much preferred to chase something that would run and not stand its ground. As soon as the dog reached the monkey, the funny little scarlet-coated creature courteously doffed its cap. Instantly there was a laugh from the audience. The dog was nonplussed. Its head drooped and its tail dropped between its legs. It looked like a whipped cur and not at all like the fine dog it really was. It turned and ran back home, and the laughing children could not persuade it to return. As for the monkey, he wanted no disagreement, and he knew instinctively that it took two to make a quarrel. You can often avoid strife by being the one who refuses to fight with a brother in Christ, even if he is somewhat different from you or belongs to another group.

We have come through an especially contentious few years in our nation’s history.  I pray that today as Christians we will heed Paul’s counsel to Timothy and not quarrel let we ruin not just others, but ourselves as well.  It always takes two to fight!!!!  Let us be people of peace, remembering that Jesus didn’t fight over for…be only for the souls of men and women.  I pray that will be our main concern, too!

PRAYER: Lord, let peace descend on our land and in our hearts.  Let us bear no ill will to others.  Let the healing begin this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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