One of the first things we learn as children, is how to stick up for ourselves, and to defend our toys and self interest at all costs. We learn how to squabble, how to fight, to cling to and demand what we think we should have. Fighting whether it be with tiny fists or screaming tantrums comes quite easily, until hopefully we learn better. Sadly some never learn better.
As Christian brothers and sisters we have all heard at some time that our Lord Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek, to treat others as we would want them to treat us, to be generous and to forgive; and yet …
There are times just lately when I have seemed to find myself in the middle of bickering, squabbling friends; and I must be honest I have added to the din. Once the Lord showed me hens in the yard, the farmer came and began to feed them, very generously, plenty of food to go around, not a single hen was going to go hungry, but almost at once the clucking and furious fussing was switched on … almost every hen preferring that handful over there to the handful purposely thrown to them, it seems someone else’s portion is always better than our own. Feathers fly, clucks get louder, and in my picture, the farmer hurried to pick up his favourite hen, tuck her under his arm, and place her in a pen all by herself, saying: Oh not you my pretty. You just stay by yourself awhile and learn better ways…’ by her clucking, you could tell she reckoned she was being blamed for the commotion and didn’t think much of being separated out from the other hens. Her clucks said ‘It’s not my fault. I didn’t start it.’
Whether we are hens, small children or grown Christians who ought to know better, we all at sometimes need to give thought to how we are behaving and to acknowledge that the Lord does desire us to come to Him and learn better ways.
…. Again the Lord showed me two penguins, having the most furious fight, both determined not to give in, but one was getting better of the other, and the smaller of the pair was, I could see in danger of being overcome and maybe killed. It seemed very clear to me, that the “biggest”of the pair only seemed bigger because he was the angriest. His determination fuelled by rage, he was going to finish this business once and for all.
“Oh Lord. Stop it!” I cried.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Separate them. Please”
And the Lord did.
After a short while I looked and saw a pair of penguins doing a dainty penguin shuffle together, reconciled, quarrel forgotten. Anger is a terrible thing when it grows so big it’s out of control. Even if the angry person, is the one who has been wronged, anger is not the answer, and neither is insistence on our own way,
Love is never rude, and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances.
“You must always forgive,”
If your brother does something wrong, rebuke him and if he is sorry forgive him. And if he wrongs you
Seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says “I am sorry.” You must forgive him.
( Luke 17. 3-4)
Remember also if we are too angry we can’t hear God speak to us ~ He cannot restrain us, he cannot reach down and remove us from the fight and the injury and harm we may cause, even to those who love us.
“But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘Look! I can see heaven thrown open,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ All the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they made a concerted rush at him, thrust him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, “Lord do not hold this sin against them.’ And with these words he fell asleep. (Acts 7. 55-60)
Scriptures taken from NJB