Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.
Proverbs 17:1 NKJV
This verse came to mind today. Actually, it has been in the background of my mind for a few days but just came forward today. I was marveling at the way some human beings are. I know I am different and think differently from most people. But I find comfort in the fact that out of the 7 billion people on this earth, there are some that are like me. I am amazed at the way some people are just so cantankerous (quarrelsome and peppery), never missing an opportunity for a fight. Nothing goes past them. They even go so far as to look for nuances behind comments and dig up inferences that don’t make sense. I guess that is what makes them tick. Not a day goes by without exchanging words with someone. I guess they won’t feel alive otherwise.
This is not to disparage them. I am just identifying the fact that people are wired differently. When I get into a fight with someone, it’s usually brief and I tend to regret it (most of the time). I try to look for ways to repair the damage as soon as possible, trying to not let it simmer. You see, a quarrel is a big deal for me. I don’t usually rest until it’s resolved or at least until I can see a resolution in sight. That is why I wonder how some people thrive with quarrels. It’s as if they can’t live without it.
I would choose a dry morsel with quietness any day. Someone said it’s the path of least resistance, and I won’t go far that way. Maybe. But I cherish my peace of mind. There’s always a price to pay for anything in this world. Even when it’s free, it just means someone else paid the price. Look at salvation. It comes free to us because Jesus paid the price. He died on the cross in our place. Bore the pain and the shame, so that we didn’t have to. Same for all those store sales saying buy one get one free. It just means the shop is taking the cut in profit or maybe selling at cost price or right-sizing the price and removing exorbitant profit. There’s always a price to pay.
So, for my peace of mind, I might be willing to forfeit a delicious spread and eat my morsel dry. It’s my choice. Maybe I would enjoy my morsel better when it’s dry than having a variety of sauces to choose from amidst conflict and strife. For all you know, the sauce might go down the wrong way as a result of the conflict!
Life is full of choices. I always knew that. But I heard something today and it struck a chord in me. People say we are the sum of all our choices. The speaker said we should refuse to agree that we are the sum of all our bad choices because we have something called grace. Because the grace of God is available, God intervenes from time to time and grants us ease where we ought to have experienced difficulty. This is because He does not deal with us as we deserve. He deals with us out of His abundant mercy and grace. When He looks at us, He doesn’t see the multitude of wrongs piled up against us, (as the accuser wants us to think). He sees the blood of Jesus speak better things about us. He remembers His promise to us that as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. He remembers them no more. That is why we can boldly come into His presence and obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need. What comfort!
As I was saying, about peace. I like to hold to the scripture that says as much as possible, as it depends on me, I should be at peace with all men. Even in this, there’s a price. Sometimes, I feel cheated. I feel I should fight back. I don’t want to be considered a fool or someone that can be trodden on like a doormat. Then I remember Jesus saying that if someone slaps you on one cheek, you should turn the other cheek as well. Why? Why did He say that? You may conclude that it is my fear that is holding me back from retaliating. You may be right. I am afraid some of the time because I hate conflict. I hate conflict because you can’t determine where it will end. You can only control your own actions and reactions. What if the other person wants to kill a fly with a sledgehammer? How do you control the outcome? I hate to find myself in situations where I would have to say ‘If I’d known I would just have let it go’; or someone saying “You shouldn’t have let it get that far”.
So I may be wrong in avoiding conflict. There are some situations that require you to show that you have some fire in you and you are not to be taken for granted. Still, I find it difficult to differentiate. So I avoid conflict. I fair better that way. I have more peace that way. It’s easier for me to work through the offense and forgive that way. Because when I look back at the incident, I can tell myself “Yes, they hurt me and they intended to hurt me. But I refuse to hold it against them. I give my pain to God as a sacrifice. I forgive them. Lord Help me to truly forgive them and let go of this hurt or offense.” It takes time to melt away but it eventually does and I am free.
Now, if I take a different option and I fight. I will see it as a weakness, as allowing my flesh to take over. I would feel bad about it. I just feel it diminishes me somehow. I know there are arguments against this kind of behavior. I know there’s a need to assert yourself, let people know what you stand for and all that. Well, what can I say? I am still learning and growing into my skin. So, there’s still room for improvement. I’ll wait and see how things go, holding my peace as I wait.
I was listening to a sermon preached at a funeral recently and the preacher said to make sure we were fighting the right battles and fighting for the right reasons because, at the end of the day, all these things might not matter. The things that matter are the things that have eternal consequences. Paul said he had fought the good fight (2 Tim.4:7). Are we fighting the good fight too? He said he did not fight like a boxer beating the air (1 Cor.9:26) It is a deliberate and focused battle for what matters most. Our eternity.
So, whether you confront opposition or tactically avoid conflict; whether you embrace conflict or you enjoy a good argument, what matters most at the end of the day is to ensure you do not warehouse the bitterness and hard feelings. We are not allowed to harbor bad feelings or allow them to morph into bitterness and offense. We have a race to run and a battle to fight. The good fight of faith awaits. We must forgive, and speedily too. We must die to self so that we can be alive to God.
God helping us, we will!