Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Today, we will discuss two symptoms of a carnal fleshly lifestyle.
Hatred – echthra (ekh’-thrah): hostility, enmity
Variance – eris (er’-is): a quarrel, contention, debate, strife
I believe that we all battle with these symptoms on some level. Some more than others. I will share an example from my own life. Forgive me if it seems long. I just want to be thorough and be sure to get my point across…
I have been homeschooling my daughter for almost seven years. I am part of a homeschool “covering” school. They take care of the paper work and offer classes at a low cost. A few years ago I put my oldest daughter in one of their day programs. They would spend one day a week in four different classes with four different teachers. I thought it would be a good experience for her. That was the back round…now here is the story…
One of her teachers was a friend. We went on field trips together, hung out as families, and her and I did things together. I was very happy that she would be teaching my daughter Latin and Greek roots. She is a very smart lady.
The children did not get actual grades from the teachers. That was up to the parent to do at home. However, they did offer an incentive for the children to do the extra work. Each teacher would reward points for extra work that the children brought in each week. After earning 100 points the children would receive a pin to wear (the kids would wear them proudly). At the end of the semester the top three point earners would also receive a reward of some kind.
Anyway, the work that my daughter received in Latin and Greek roots was way beyond her grade level and very hard. She would work for hours on just a couple of pages. I couldn’t even understand half of what she was doing. Yet, somehow she would get it done, and when my husband would check it she would be correct.
When I would pick her up each week she would tell me how she got 10 points for doing a simple project for her Animal Kingdom class, 30 points for Marco Polo, and when she got to Latin and Greek only 1 or 2 points were rewarded. Week after week was the same story. She began to get discouraged. After all, she was working very hard. It wasn’t that she was not bright. She is actually quite smart. She ranks in the 90 percentile on her SAT’s each year. It was just very hard work.
This is where our lesson comes in…
I decided to talk to her teacher/my friend one day while we were on a field trip with the kids. It did not go that well at all. She got quite aggravated with me and told me that my daughter got plenty of points in all her other classes and she thought my daughter was an over achiever. I told her that was bologna and that my daughter deserved to be rewarded for her work like everyone else. It did not go as planned. I wound up taking it to the lady in charge. She agreed with me and talked to my friend/teacher and my daughter was given the proper points.
My “friend” became very hostile towards me. She wouldn’t even look at me at church. And I could care less. I thought she was a jerk. Of course, God had to get involved…LOL. He just would not leave me alone. He kept telling me to apologize to her. WHAT!? Now way! that can’t be God, I would say. Why would He want me to apologize. I was right! She was the wrong one. She owed me an apology.
Yeah, well, God was not impressed with my reasoning and continued to press until I gave in. I eventually did. I truly humbled myself and took her out to coffee and apologized, and really meant it. She said she forgave me.
Unfortunately, the friendship never recovered on her part. She was never able to get beyond her pride. She “said” she forgave me…but she really didn’t. To this day we are only acquaintances now. I went to God about it. I told Him that I did what He said to do. He told me that I should have let it go before it ever became anything. I should have never made it an issue. The points didn’t matter. My daughter needed to learn the stuff anyway. I should have taught my daughter that blessed are the peacemakers. It is better to keep the peace and protect the friendship than to get “justice.” I paid the high price of losing a friend. She paid the high price of losing joy by harboring bitterness. We both lost.
Being right isn’t always the point.
Being right is not worth wrecking a friendship.
Being right is not more important than the cost.
I lost a friend because I needed to be right. I needed justice. It was a hard lesson to learn. I learned though, and will never let it happen again!
Hostility, quarrels, and strife will only bring someone involved pain. It may be you, it may be the other person, or it may be everyone involved. It does not matter who is right and who is wrong. What matters is peace. What matters is what will the final outcome of “being right” be?
Daddy God, search my heart. If I harbor any hostility towards any one please show me and help me to let it go. Show me before I ever make the mistake of getting into strife. Help me to always be a peace maker and not have to be right. Help me to forgive when someone fails me. Help me to not harbor bitterness towards anyone. Help me to show Your Love and Mercy to others no matter what. Thank You for Your love and Mercy in my life. In Jesus Mighty name, Amen.
In His Love and Service,
Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved