OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #201 Who Cut the Hose?
I don’t have a lot of news this week other than Ian is now taking his gun and hunter safety courses. He is really excited about this. A man from our church is letting me use his camp and this will be our base, so this is very neat, also. I’m always amazed at people’s generosity, and grateful.
We're getting ready for a parenting course at our church in Moncton next week. The Family Life Legacy course is for everyone interested in parenting and will happen on Oct 17 from 9-4. We'll learn things like how to avoid the most common mistakes parents make, how our roles change as the children grow, and how to instill confidence and character in our children. Cost is $15/person or $25/couple and includes a workbook. Please email me if you want to pre-register or want more information.
Hope your week is going well,
When I was a student, I worked for three summers in Cavendish, PEI. I had a job at a commercial campground in the resort area and lived in an old tent trailer in the staff compound. It was a fun place to work and live, but it was not without its tensions as twenty or so different people of varying maturity tried to live and get along.
I came back to the trailer one day to find my water hose cut off. My hatchet was stuck in the ground beside it, and half was missing. It was no big deal, just a cheap hose from the hardware store, but that day I saw red. One of the maintenance staff was working on the water system nearby and I jumped to conclusions. He had obviously cut my hose and stolen it. I stomped over to where he was working, and he had the missing half.
“Why did you cut my hose?” I demanded.
“What do you mean, cut your hose?” He was not one to back down easily.
“My hose,...” I pointed to the piece on the ground beside him.” “Why did you cut it off?”
“This hose was here when I came up to work. If I had wanted your hose, I would have asked you.” And then he quoted something I had heard him say many times. “Don’t ever steal anything from me. Ask me, and I’ll probably give it to you.”
With that, he handed me my hose and the argument was over. I knew he would have asked to borrow it if he needed, and certainly would not have cut it. I never did find out who did, and truthfully, I was too embarrassed by my behaviour to look any further. I still have the hose in my shed and have thought about that experience many times since.
In this series on conflict, I turned to Proverbs to see what this book of wisdom has to say. It is a favourite of mine and I found all sorts of gems, including this one which took me back to the day of the hose.
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.* Proverbs 26:20-21
I was kindling strife that day. Listening to the gossip of my own mind, I accused him without thinking. And because he was there, I charged in to call him to account, but I was wrong. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (Proverbs 29:11)
Just as I have kindled strife, I have likewise been scorched by others. “Where did that come from?” is usually my first thought. Sometimes I can make sense of it, and sometimes I cannot, but I know this: It is no fun to be torched and scorched.
Another proverb comes to mind: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) It is hard not to react defensively when the sparks fly, but I have often also found that when I answer kindly the situation more quickly diffuses. There is a lot to learn from these and other proverbs for handling conflict.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Oct 8, 2009. *Scripture taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email email@example.com. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com Blog located at http://onfireletter.blogspot.com/