Missing the target?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we strike out at those who hurt us with angry words do we often end up not only hurting others, but hurting ourselves in the process?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

As late spring ushers in early summer, there’s an aspect of summer beyond the heat and humidity that I really don’t look forward to: Deer flies. Those little dive-bombers that come out in late June and don’t go away until the first frost love to hang out in transitional areas around Beech Springs where sunlight and shade meet. That’s where they hide, just waiting to nail you as you walk up the driveway to get the mail or as you mow the lawn and duck into their territory with the tractor. They dive into your hair and are particularly fond of the back of your neck. A deer fly bite is nasty and stings like that of a bee. You feel it when you’re bitten. Last night I ran into a gang of them as I tried to mow the front lawn. I swatted and slapped, nearly losing control of the tractor. That’s when one landed on my cheek and I whacked it hard. Unfortunately, it’s still alive somewhere. I missed terribly. I regret not stopping the tractor prior to taking on the fly. My aim was faulty and my only hope was the slap to my face wouldn’t result in a black eye.

You know, when we strike out at those who hurt us with angry words, similar to that vain effort to defend myself on the tractor, often we end up not only hurting others, but hurting ourselves in the process. It’s all about putting a bit of wisdom in place before we strike out.

Here’s a story: There is an ancient Greek myth that tells how the Greek god Hercules met a strange animal on a narrow road. Hercules paused briefly, calculated the threat and then he struck it with his club and passed on. Soon, however, the same animal overtook him. It bounded from behind and leaped in front of Hercules, blocking his path. Hercules lifted his club again but paused in his strike. The beast was now three times as large at it was before. Hercules was seriously threatened by the animal and began to fight it with all his might. He lunged at the beast and struck it repeatedly with his mighty club. Each time he struck it, the beast grew larger and deadlier. The goddess Athena then appeared to Hercules and warned him to stop. “The beast’s name is Strife,” she said. “Let it alone and it will soon become as little as it was at first.”(Rubel Shelly)

Strife really is a monster, and its ability to grow in proportion to our inability to leave certain issues alone is well known. Strife rears its ugly head in homes, between business partners and coworkers, between parents and children, and even within the church. Its work finished, there are divorces, lawsuits, broken family relationships, and personal divisions that are left behind in its wake. Honorable men and women don’t go around spoiling for fights. They’re willing to seek win-win solutions for situations that are often cast as win-lose scenarios. Not every contest is between right and wrong. Many are nothing more serious than contrasts in preference, taste, or method. Be careful when you’re slapping at things. Missing the target can be painful and often you are the one left with the black eye.

We pray. Heavenly Father, help us to deal with the strife in our lives before we revert to slapping at it and just making it worse. Like a nasty, stinging fly strife is irritating and fearful. So often we anticipate its bite and overreact. Forgive us when we strike out in self-defense when others hurt us, only to end up hurting ourselves more and others along with us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to "This Passing Day!" <markcbrunner@thispassingday.com>

God bless you for Jesus sake.

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