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31 January - Rules Of Engagement - Arguments vs Peace

Last night I was up late; it was well into the morning until I got to bed as several of my six children wanted to talk to me before they went to bed for the night. It’s quite common for me to have late-night chats with the kids, and being a former youth pastor, I am very used to the fact that teenagers and young adults often want to download to a listening ear in the small hours of the morning.

The issue, however, was that I hadn’t been home for several days due to work, and my lovely husband had missed me and couldn’t get to sleep either. My not coming to bed kept him restless, and when I finally did get there, I woke him up, meaning he was tired this morning and a little grumpy.

I discovered today, as a result of some tired people in the house, that I could choose to get into an argument about our different sleep schedules and whatever else might be annoyed us, or I could choose not to engage, which is the advice I felt Jesus gave me when I stopped to pray about it.

There are times to deal with conflict and differences of opinion head-on, and there are also times to choose not to engage with people and let them sort it out by themselves.

Today was a “do not engage” day, and because I listened to Jesus quietly telling me to get on with my day, we all ended up having a productive, quiet day, topped off by a little spontaneous ice cream date with my lovely husband.

I encourage you to stop and pray next time you feel an argument and strife brewing in the atmosphere and relationships around you. If it’s not necessary and people are simply tired or having a bad day, refuse to engage with the negative emotions, and go the way of peace rather than conflict, discord and quarrelling.

Because strife is one of the devil's most dangerous weapons in his arsenal against us. When we allow it into our lives, it’s like an open door to trouble because “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:14-16)

Plus, leave strife to take root, and it will eventually limit our faith and the effectiveness of our prayers because our faith, and consequently our prayers being answered, works by love, not anger or discord. (Galatians 5:6).

Don’t engage with strife today and choose the way of peace, love and unity because, in that atmosphere, your faith works, and Jesus promises to be in our midst.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:1)

"Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

“Avoiding strife brings a man honour, but every fool is quarrelsome.” (Proverbs 20:3)

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to give the devil any further access to my life, and I ask that you help me walk in peace and love towards others. I ask for your forgiveness when I have allowed strife, arguing, anger, and bitterness into my life. When someone annoys me, or there is an opportunity to get into strife, please help me choose not to engage and to be self-controlled and walk in the power of love instead. In Jesus Name Amen.

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