Friday, September 22, 2006

Victorious and Honorable Retreat?

I'm reading through a book called Tongue Fu!: How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict by Sam Horn. This is my second time through the book. The first time I read it myself, this time I'm reading it to my two middle children - teenagers - they need to learn Tongue Fu. :-)

Yesterday while reading the book a quote from Norman Vincent Peale stood out to me: "Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself victory." We often think of retreating as a conceding of defeat - a result of losing or failing - but it doesn't have to be that way. I like the idea that retreating can be a victory in itself.

One of my favorite verses to quote to my children is Romans 12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We need that reminder almost daily in our house. :-) I usually follow that up the first part of Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers".

I like to take the Romans verse phrase by phrase and think it through. "If it is possible". That to me shows that sometimes it isn't possible, but it is important to take the time to see if it may be possible. "As far as it depends on you" It is important to be sure that you do your part. Don't worry whether someone else is doing their part or not just be sure that you are doing all you can. "Live at peace with everyone" Even your family. Even your friend that drives you crazy. Even your enemies. Even your neighbors. Even strangers. Everyone.

Last night while reading a chapter of Proverbs I noticed another verse that went along with this strain of thought. "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3" It is honorable to avoid strife. I like that thought.

Help me today, Lord, to be wise and honorable, not foolish, in my dealings with everyone I come into contact with.