A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the task of watching my grandson and his friend for the afternoon. As I sit on the front porch listening to them while they played on the trampoline, I heard my grandson make this statement, “I’ll quit when you quit.” They were having a dispute over which one could jump the highest. It had turned into a disagreement between them. Neither one wanted to give in to the other. As I intervened, I shared with them a story I had read about being the first to give in. There was an older man who went out jogging. He was running around a track that circled the high school football field while the team was conducting their practice. When the football players began running their sprints up and down the field, the man said to himself, I’ll just keep running until they quit.” So they ran. And they ran. And they kept on running. So he kept on running. Finally, in total exhaustion the man had to stop. When he stopped, an exhausted football player walked over to him and said, “Boy, I’m glad you finally stopped, Mister. Our coach told us that we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging!” We can sometimes find ourselves in a similar situation when it comes to anger and conflict. We have a disagreement and voices get raised. Neither one wants to be the first to give in. We get the attitude that, ” I’ll quit when you quit.” So each other gets mad and on we go, eventually finding ourselves emotionally and physically exhausted by the ongoing arguing. I said this to my grandson and his friend. Let me challenge you to be the first to give in and say I’m sorry. It’s the best way to stop the vicious cycle, and its God’s way of doing what the Bible says. I also want to challenge each of us to remember the next time we have a dispute with others, remember this story, and be the first to say, “I’m sorry.”
Father, thank you for your word and for your guidance in times of conflict. Help us that we may learn from little experiences in our life. Amen.