In January I made a list.
Not a list of things I resolve TO DO in 2013. But instead a list of things I WILL NOT DO.
The top of the list reads one word: STRIFE
Strife – noun, \ˈstrīf\ a : bitter sometimes violent conflict or dissension b : an act of contention : fight, struggle
: exertion or contention for superiority
Strife took front and center far too often last year. It made its way into my friendships. Into my home. Into my marriage. Into our ministry. And into our money.
And the other day it made its way to our breakfast table.
(Mommies, see if you can relate to this scenario…)
The boys were side-by-side at the kitchen island, wolfing down Honey Bunches of Oats and Cinnamon Toast Crunch when I heard it. That familiar sound when a my oldest puts his hand “too close” to the his brother’s cereal bowl. Only to get his hand slapped. And the other retaliates with a slap back. The younger brother begins to cry. And the oldest takes zero responsibility for his initial action, but only blames the other for slapping him back. Then I chime in with my sin nature all stirred up and lash out in a screaming fit of frustration. Grr.
I stood from the table snatched my journal from underneath my Bible. I scooched in between their bowls opened my journal to this page…
The beginning of strife is like the letting out of water, so quit before the barrel breaks out. Proverbs 17:14
“Boys, Scripture is very clear about our relationship with strife. The Bible teaches that strife is a mark of quarrelsome fools, mockers and the wicked (Psalm 55:9, Prov. 20:3, 26:21). None of which describes you, at all! Look at this verse. When you start to “slap and pick” at one another THAT is the beginning of strife. So, according to this verse, what do you need to do before strife ‘breaks out?'”
In unison, “We quit.”
“Right. You quit. Don’t keep picking. No slapping. Get your hands back near your own cereal bowl and leave your brother alone. Because once strife goes too far, the barrel with break out and we will have a full-blown fight on our hands. QUIT STRIFE BEFORE IT STARTS. Got it?”
This is true, not only for parenting purposes, but for every area of life. Imagine marriage if we “quit strife” before the barrel broke out. Or your immediate family. Our your job. Or your friendships.
If we as a culture “quit strife” before it started there would be no reality television and few stories to broadcast on the nightly news.
Strife births drama.
And drama births sin. (So drama is not allowed in 2013 either.)
Be on the lookout today for strife and where it rears it ugly head. And let us resolve to quit before the barrel breaks.