Friday, August 26, 2011

August 26th – Proverbs 26: Fighting Fuel!

“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” – Proverbs 26:20

All fires require fuel to burn. When you want a fire to burn hot and tall you must add wood. If you want a fire to go out, all that you have to do is stop providing fuel and in a little while, it will go out. In the same way, every quarrel, every argument requires fuel to keep going. When a quarrel is REALLY blazing, when two sides violently oppose each other, there is a BUNCH of gossip going on. He said/She said from questionable sources is how arguments and fights persist. If you want to end the fight, normally all you have to do is STOP the chatter from others and sit down, face to face and work it out man to man. Rarely ever will you find a quarrel that can’t be settled like this.

So why don’t we resolve more conflict?

Well, the sad fact is that most people are chickens. It’s just easier to believe the lies and rumors and get mad than it is to go directly to the source of the rumors and resolve the conflict. That takes something that is all too rare these days, especially in the church, COURAGE. So many conflicts could be almost instantaneously resolved if we would just GO to the person that we have been offended by and actually DO what the Bible says:

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” – Matthew 18:15

We mask our rebellion to the commands of Jesus with this veneer of “maturity”. We’ll say stuff like “I’m not offended, BUT…” What you forget is ANYTIME a “but” comes out; you can throw away whatever is said directly before that. If you came to me for a loan, let’s say you needed $20. If I said to you, “I can give you $20, BUT…” When you hear that “but” you KNOW you aren’t getting any money! In the same way, whenever someone says, “I’m not offended, BUT…” you KNOW they are offended. We need to stop playing games and start being real. You’re not so mature that you can’t be offended, sorry. When we are hurt and offended, instead of telling all your friends, dropping names and sowing your bitterness and anger wherever you go, you need to MAN UP and go directly to that person ALONE. Deal with the offense and it will likely go away, keep feeding it and it may consume YOU.

A word about gossips: the word here for “gossip” is; talebearer, whisperer. Isn’t it funny that gossip is ALWAYS told in secret, whispered from one party to another? Yet we cloak our “concerns” for the other party in this weird self-righteous attitude, like it’s our secret mission from Jesus to expose our buddy that hurt our wee little feelings under the veil of “concern” or better yet “prayer”. Talebearers or gossips always try to appear above the fray, but in reality they are the SOURCE of all conflict. If you can get them to SHUT UP, that fight will be resolved ASAP. 

So how do you spot a talebearer? Their mouth will be moving.

“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” – Proverbs 20:19

Man up, resolve your conflict like Jesus told you to.

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