Fuel the Right Fire with the Right Fuel

Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. (Proverbs 10:12)

Another way to say this is that hatred actually 'fuels' dissension - it becomes a sometimes unrecognizable 'energy source' for the discord that ensues. It actually creates the 'material' that allows a situation to become 'combustible'. Dissension is just a fancy word for bickering, controversy, or disunity. If we want to stop any 'dissent', we must begin to chip away at the 'fuel' that it is being fed. There are many types of 'fuel', but allowing continual negative communication about the subject matter can actually begin to allow those words to take root in one's heart until there become enough 'fuel' to throw another log or two on that fire of discontent. Quarrels aren't always going to stop on their own - the fuel that allows them to continue has to be removed.

Love calms the rebellion - not just in the visible sense, but also deep within the heart of man. The more love has an impact on the one who is discontent, the less fuel there will be to continue to allow the rebellion to occur. If you have ever struggled with a rebellious child or teenager, you know very well there is some form of 'fuel' deep within them that just continues to stir up the embers of rebellion that is just beneath the surface most of the time. One of the toughest things a parent has to do is figure out what is fueling that rebellion. One of the easiest things a parent can do is love that child so deeply that they don't stop until they see the child's heart begin to change as a result of that continual love. Sounds like what God does with us, huh?

Rebellion is what some call disobedience, but it can also be outright defiance - the desire to continually be confrontational, oppositional, and spiteful. I am rebellious at times - disobedient to what I know to be right, but choosing to respond in another manner in that moment in time. When rebellion crosses the line into defiance, this is a dangerous place. Most teens go through the phase of needing to figure out how to make life choices, wanting more privilege than they want the corresponding responsibility, and thinking they know way more than they actually do. It is part of growing up, but when 'testing the waters' of one's own choices it sometimes creates an environment 'ripe' for quarrels and arguments.

While these 'quarrels' and 'arguments' are not harmful at first, with continued 'fueling' of them they can turn from simple rebellion (choosing to make one's own way in life - bending the rules a bit) into defiance (determining to live outside of the rules totally and continually). Counter the rebellion with love, as God does with us, and we often see the one given to rebellion begins to see less and less enjoyment in the rebellion. Eventually the love wins their heart over to obedience. God doesn't beat us with a stick - he lavishes love upon love upon love upon our hard and rebellious hearts. In turn, we stop 'fueling' the fires of rebellion within our hearts and allow that love to create a true desire to 'fuel' the fires of obedience. Just sayin!

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