Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Nope, not going there

I once heard it said climbing a hill is a great challenge, until you recognize there is just another hill beyond that one, and another, and another, and so on. The hills just never really stop - even the flattest of places is marked by some spot that makes another a little higher or lower than the other. Hills are not 'high places' all the time. Sometimes they are our 'lowest'! Ever run across an individual that just seems contrary in all they do? There is just no pleasing them because they find fault with everything and love to quarrel over the smallest or lowest of things. There is a word for these type of individuals - fools! A fool loves to pick a fight - to find a hill and then mark out one's stand upon it. It is a mark of honor (of good character) to avoid a fight. I am not implying that we actually live in a state of existence where we go through life without ever saying a cross word or entering into constructive debate periodically. Yet, a man or woman of good character knows that insisting on a quarrel is never a sign of wisdom.

It's a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights.  (Proverbs 20:3)

It is a good thing to overlook the small things in life - the offenses that could become huge mountains upon which debates lead to wars. There is a saying I heard some time ago that has stuck with me: "Is this the hill you want to die on?" In other words, is this the "battle" of the will, or warfare of the mind that you want to engage in? "Small things" lead to the bigger battles and most damaging of forces when we allow ourselves to dwell upon them. Angry outbursts and quarrels are most often the result of not being willing to overlook an offense. God honors the one who is able to turn away from fighting and to be a peacemaker. It is probably the toughest job in the world to be a peacemaker, but one that not only honors God, but points others toward him.

Life well-lived isn't all about us not having the opportunity to quarrel, it is that we "avert" from that opportunity. To 'avert' carries both the idea of turning away before you enter into the quarrel and to prevent it before it has an opportunity to begin. This is more than the "counting to ten" thing that some may encourages us to engage in (not to say that this is bad). It is the attitude of mind and heart that shows how much you value the other individual - so much so that you don't see the hill as something to be mounted in victory, but rather as something that will come between you both if you do! When we "turn away" or "turn aside" from a quarrel, we are choosing to honor God by not engaging in actions or the sharing of words that will not represent God well.

When we prevent a quarrel, we actually are doing what God calls being a peacemaker. A peacemaker is an intermediary - one who is able to see both sides of the coin. There is an ability to not judge a situation by face value, but to see that there are always two sides to how a situation can be interpreted (each being valid in the other person's eyes). Think on that one today - your interpretation of the situation may not be that of the other individual - we each see that hill a little differently. Today, we have a choice - it is to choose wisely the hills that we are willing to die on. Quarrelsome behavior will soon wear us down, wear upon our relationships, and make us devoid of those strong supports we need in life. Choose wisely - it is better to be numbered with the wise than with the fools! Just sayin!

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