My friend recently started a business, and his competitor got really nasty. I read some emails his competitor sent, and I kind of wanted to go punch someone. Isn’t this the way our world works sometimes? When we are angry at each other, we involve lawyers, cease-and-desist letters, and nasty emails. As much as we teach our children to be kind and share, all too often we adults haven’t learned the lesson.
Our Platt Park Church elementary-age kids are learning about the Biblical virtue of peace this month in their Upstreet class. Here is how the kids’ curriculum defines biblical peace: “Peace is proving you care more about each other than winning an argument.” And then they roll it out for the kids by saying this: “Prove you care about others by walking away from a fight,” and “Prove you care about others by letting go of ‘what’s fair.'”
If you are in a conflict right now, here is something I guarantee: the outcome will not feel fair. You have to let go of what is fair, because the other person’s perspective or solution is rarely, if ever, going to seem fair to you, and vice versa. Instead, you have to get quiet with God and figure out what it means for you to walk through the situation with integrity, because that is more important than what is fair. Second, if someone is saying nasty stuff about you or sending you emails that are emotionally loaded and don’t make sense – and maybe even contain lies – you may just need to NOT respond. You have the option to just be quiet…and walk away.
Sometimes walking away is the best way to protect your heart (and body) from the pain someone else wishes to inflict on you. Jesus is our perfect model in this. He did not retaliate when he had every right. He did not angle and work for his way or what was fair. Instead, he humbled himself, resisted others’ irrational rage, and perfected himself in love.
Yes, I know, easier said than done – for me too. Lord, have mercy.