Tuesday, November 15, 2011

when strife shatters...

Guest Post: Kristin (The Mom)

Andrew sat on the small stool next to the stove where I was putting together a meal for dinner. He held a glass jar of Gobstoppers on his lap, randomly shaking them to make a rattle sound. After a few dozen shakes I asked him to stop because the sound was becoming annoying. Gobstoppers is the choice of candy for our family and the jar had dwindle away to nothing but greens and yellows. Except one red. We like to pick our favorites when we grab a handful of the sweet treat. Obviously the green and yellow ones are not our favorites. Madison stood in front of him with her small handful of green and yellow treats. "Andrew, do you like the green and yellow ones?" She ask her brother. "uh huh? " he mumbled after popping one of the round balls in his mouth. "I'll trade you this handful of green and yellows for the red one you have there." she bargained, hopeful to gain the infamous favorite colored candy. "Okay." He responded, slyly, then quickly popping the red one in his mouth. Mean, just mean. Madison's face turned red, and a slew of unkind hateful words poured out of her mouth. Suddenly, a peaceful conversation in the kitchen turned into a war zone, full of selfish actions, anger, and wrath. I turned from the stove and reached for the jar of candy in Andrew's hands, in the struggle, the jar flew from both of our hands, glass shattered in a thousand pieces across the kitchen floor, and our beloved Gobstoppers rolled to the furthest corners of the room. We all froze in silence, mostly because we were startled by the loud shatter of glass and cautioned by the tiny sharp pieces that now lay around our feet. Madison and Andrew were carefully sent to their rooms.

STRIFE is defined as a struggle, fight, or quarrel. It is contention or competition between rivals.

STRIFE is the opposite of LOVE. Strife is being at odds with others. Strife comes when we demand our own way.

In the story above Andrew acted in such a way that did not put others before himself. He was not walking in love. Madison became angry because she had been offended and did not get her way. Her hateful response demanded her own way. She was not walking in love.
The minute we step out of love, and love means putting others before ourselves, we enter strife. And strife shatters.

Minutes later Madison reentered the kitchen getting the broom and dustpan. Andrew quickly followed with the trashcan, and they began to pick up the shattered pieces together. Andrew wanted to glue the jar back together, and I informed him that it was beyond repair, it had to go in the trash.

Our hateful actions and hurtful words, when said and done, can't be taken back.
When we allow strife to enter our hearts, our hearts will shatter. Just like the candy jar, when it shatters it can no longer hold the sweet treats it was meant for. The jar becomes useless. When our hearts shatter, from strife, it can no longer hold the love and joy it is meant to hold.

We cleaned up the broken pieces of glass, so no one else could get hurt. We regathered the candy and found a NEW jar to hold it. And, we all committed to slam the door on strife. BECAUSE STRIFE ALWAYS SHATTERS...

"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses." Proverbs 10:12

Where have you seen strife? At home? At school? At church?
How can love close the door on actions of strife?

much love, kristin

Thursday, November 10, 2011