Posts Tagged ‘Conflict’


Word Choice – Proverbs 26:20–21

April 9, 2020

“For lack of wood,
a fire goes out,

and where there is no whisperer,
quarreling will cease.

As charcoal is to hot embers and wood is to fire,
so a man of quarrels is to kindling strife.”

Words are either fuel for a fire,
or salve on a burn.

Sad the number who play strife’s arson
by whispering gossip and quarreling nonsense.

Choice of words are governed from within.
Words obeying their chosen sovereign.

Peace makers or conflict creators, our words will show.
Whisper collector or gossip settler, for all to know.

Repent from your arson ways, your heart cannot hide.
Quenching a quarrel’s ember, quietly glorifying.

When hearts choose a righteous temperature for words,
their Sovereign is always magnified.


A tongue of deceit hates its victim, and a flattering mouth makes ruin. ~ Proverbs 26:28 via the Logos Bible Android app.


Conflict Resolution: Which Path? – Proverbs 15:1

March 29, 2020

“A soft answer will turn away wrath,
but a word of trouble will stir anger.”

Imagine we have a difficult hike to make. Our destination is a community of peace on the opposite side of a mountain.  This mountain is large and formidable.  There are areas of instability, where a rock slide could sweep us away. There are vast stretches lacking any springs for refreshment.

Obviously, the shortest course will be to go directly over the mountain.  These routes are poorly marked and likely filled with all the hardship of an ill-advised expedition.  Many have tried these routes, but few parties ever arrived at the community of peace intact.

The other route is long.  It meanders along the valleys and ravines. The path is broad, following a refreshing stream.  Travelers wind past hazards while slowly gaining elevation.  

Often, the gains are imperceptible causing travelers to become discouraged and set off on more direct routes. Those routes rarely lead up the mountain.  Often, these impatient travelers find themselves once again at the base of the same mountain or a new one.

The patient traveler diligently stays on the long path with his destination firmly fixed in his mind.  The goal for these patient parties is not simply to overcome the mountain but to summit the mountain as a group, not as individuals.  The long route is the most likely path for the group to achieve their goal and reach the community of peace but it takes uncommon endurance.

I consider conflict a mountain.  Conflicts are barriers to peace and unity, just like a mountain separating you from your destination.  Conflicts are difficult with a lot of hazards which can result in even more barriers if not handled carefully.

Some refuse to deal with conflict.  They are like the travelers that never leave camp.  They sit at the base of a mountain and wonder why the conflict never goes away.

Some choose a direct route.  They say it like it is.  They don’t select their words carefully and rarely listen for a response without an interpretation.  These direct routes often include “words of trouble” that only stir up more anger.  Many, on a direct route, excuse their course as being part of their nature. As if, they had no other choice but a direct confrontation.  

In my experience, directness is not a personality trait.  The direct person is usually either impatient or selfish (unloving).  Those on the direct route rarely get off the mountain of conflict.  It is where they live.  They feel like the world is out to get them, never realizing that they are the ones continuing to raise more mountains (barriers).

Gentleness of tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it causes a break in spirit. Proverbs 15:4 

The long route is hard, mostly because it involves a lot of self-control.  Yet, gentleness takes time.  Soft words must be allowed to seep in and moderate the heart of a conflict.  Kindness has to be kindled and love often must be demonstrated through long-suffering.  Conflict resolution requires consideration, which will rarely be granted when there is a break in spirit. 

Travelers of the long route must value gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control, and love.  I don’t see travelers on direct routes valuing those same attributes.  Is it any wonder that a world valuing direct, powerful, harsh, responses is a world mired in conflict?

Conflict is not fun.  However, the mountain will never go away until it is surmounted.  If you are ready to deal with your mountain, what route are you going to take? May I encourage you to take the long way?

 Do nothing according to selfish ambition or according to empty conceit, but in humility considering one another better than yourselves, each of you not looking out for your own interests, but also each of you for the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3–4 via the Logos Bible Android app.



June 28, 2013

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.  Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”  Ecclesiastes 9:18-10:1

English: Jogging at Cranny Good for your healt...
English: Jogging at Cranny Good for your health, but sore on the joints. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am engaged in a personal battle with friction.

Friction becomes a problem through its application over the accumulation of time.  My skin can tolerate the friction that wears upon it for a 5K run.  There are no particularly unpleasant effects even for runs of the duration to cover 10K.  My issues arise at distances beyond 10K.

Beyond 10K, the swish-swish of my legs begins to have a noticeable effect.  Every slight swish from the passage of thigh against thigh belies the accumulative effect of rubbing and the resulting friction.  This accumulating effect results in a rash, chaffing and sores.  None of these results are pleasant.  They are particularly unpleasant when one considers that the location of this swishing is originating from where were my legs join the rest of me.

I considered various alternatives to “girding my loins”  but most had other drawbacks.  Therefore, I settled on lubrication.  I determined that the best way to defeat friction was to reduce the resistance associated with the swishing.  My plan was to apply some lotion to my nether-regions prior to my next long run and thereby defeat my nemesis of friction.

Last week, I prepared for my little experiment as the rest of the household slept.  I was fully clothed in my running gear and went into our bathroom for the lotion treatment.  Unfortunately, there was no lotion on the countertop.  I fumbled through my wife’s cabinet in search of my secret weapon.  There was no lotion to be found.  Undeterred, I commenced my search again only this time seeking any sort of lubricating agent.  This search was quickly rewarded with a white bottle whose orange label read, “Absorbine, Veterinary Liniment Gel”.

“Gel”, that will be lubricating, I reasoned.  The label explained that this gel contains botanical extracts and is pleasant to use.  Great!  My search had put me behind schedule.  I needed to get on the run or I would be late for work.  I hurriedly squirted a generous amount of the gel on my hand and slathered it all over the region of concern.

I immediately felt a stinging sensation.  Initially, I thought it was just from the rash of my last run.  Curiosity transformed to concern as the stinging took on a very distinct awareness of rising heat.  My head snapped up to stare at the image in the mirror, who incredulously asked, “what have you done, you fool!”

The growing discomfort and spearmint scent jogged my memory of this gel.  We had purchased this gel more than a year ago when my wife was having back problems.  It was recommended to us as a treatment to help loosen up knotted back muscles.  It was horse-strength analgesic.  This gel relaxes tense muscle through the stimulant of … heat;  heat that I had now slathered generously ALL OVER a very sensitive region.  My only response to the gathering storm in my loins was “aaarghhh!”  I immediately grabbed a wash-towel, wetting it in the sink as beads of sweat began to form on my brow.  All I could think was “I don’t want to die this way.”  I scrubbed and scrubbed; wetted the towel and scrubbed some more.  As I scrubbed, I cursed the irony that I had applied this gel to avoid friction and now here I was directly applying more friction than running had ever caused.  I was just about to jump into the shower when the heat reached its zenith and began its descent.  I was relieved that I would not have to give any of the explanations that I had been rehearsing for a 911 operator as to the nature of my emergency.

This little incident reminded me of many solutions that we often resort to in an attempt to solve friction in our lives.  There have been many relationships that have been made much worse by the application of the wrong ointment; the ointment of sin.  That ointment can burn away years of good feelings in an instant.  An inappropriate response can often become more of a problem than the original source of friction.  That momentary decision to follow folly has been the source of much discomfort and the ill-will in relationships.

The natural response of our flesh is never an ointment that leads to anything other than folly.

The treatment that will always have the intended results is the Spirit.  Generous applications of the Spirit will inevitably soothe the most painful of friction induced afflictions.  The response of the one who is walking in the Spirit provides a wisdom that can restore the fragrance to that which has taken on the stench of decay.

Therefore, walking in the Spirit is not something that we can practice in an irregular manner.  We constantly need the wisdom of the Spirit.  We never know when folly will present itself to us.  We never know when we will be confronted by circumstances that demand a response.  We do know that a fleshly response can make a situation so much worse.

Therefore, we need to be diligent in the setting of our minds.  We need to be intentional in walking in the Spirit so that when we are confronted by the potential of folly we will naturally apply the ointment of the Spirit.

The wisdom that comes from abiding in the Spirit will soothe beyond anything from our own wisdom.  Therefore, let us not wander from Him who will make our paths straight.

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I have applied way too much of myself in past conflicts.  Father, help me to abide in You.  I want my natural response to be the soothing wisdom of your Spirit.  I want my response to make things better and not worse.  I want you to be glorified in the most frictional of situations.  Lord, I want to be a peacemaker.  Help me to walk in your Spirit at all times.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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