Feeling it?

Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

As you might well imagine, as long as there are people attempting to coexist on this earth, there will be conflict of some sort. Some of it is really kind of silly conflict, such as when a team pitted against another on the football field begins to push and shove others on the opposite team, erupting into a few chosen words and punches. Other conflict is quite real, such as when one nation rises up against another, taking life after life in the conflict. Some conflict might just be a little selfish, such as when we pout because we didn't get our own way about something. Regardless of the reason for conflict - it exists all around us. As you might imagine, God's answer to conflict is to expect it, but not to dwell within it - don't get caught up in it, engage in it, or harbor the type of conflict that lasts forever.

This concept of 'getting even' seems to come quite naturally to us, doesn't it? We 'feel' wronged in one way or another, even at times when the battle is really not our own, but we take it on. There we are, right in the middle of the fray, holding fast to one 'side' of the conflict, determined to 'win'. If you are anything like me, you have been on the wrong side of the conflict a few times - choosing to dig in when you knew the right thing was to let go. It is hard to 'let go' when we 'feel' anything toward the issue at hand, isn't it? We allow those feelings to begin to dictate our response to the conflict rather than looking at the people we are about to engage with. We overlook their emotions and investment in whatever it is we are about to enter into conflict over - standing stubbornly in whatever opinion we have formed because of how we 'feel' toward the issue. Sadly, our feelings can begin many a 'conflict' that we really don't have the energy, time, or treasure to invest. 

Perhaps this is why God focuses so much on the idea of 'expecting' conflict, but not 'entering into' it. He knows once we yield to those emotions, we go down a slippery path that leads to even further conflict in our lives - damaging relationship after relationship. That path is fed by our emotions, bolstered by the return of emotion we see from others engaged in the conflict, and fueled by our pride far more than we may want to admit. It is that 'I am getting even' attitude that gets us into so much unwanted 'additional conflict'. If we'd stop long enough to acknowledge the emotions on both sides of the conflict, then listen closer to our Lord's voice urging us to lay down our hurt instead of being led by our emotions, we might just realize a whole lot more of the 'forgetting of the conflict' he desires to see from each of us. We'd stop before things got 'out of hand' and we'd work to reconcile quickly. Just sayin!


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