Love does not add fuel to the fire

by Craig on September 7, 2011

love does not play favoritessource

A man named Isaac had a bunch of sons.
His last was named Joseph…
and Joseph…
was his favorite.

Did he laugh louder at his jokes?
Did he have a favorite nick-name?
Did he always keep him near…
tell him the most personal stories…
give him the best of his wisdom?

And did each act of fondness for the favorite..
only fuel the embers to fire…
and the fire to blaze…
and the blaze to tragedy?

The Bible tells us that the older brothers never said a kind word to Joseph.

Did they tease him relentlessly?

Did they exclude him?
Did they go where he couldn’t follow?
Did they study his every button…
and push each one?

Did they perpetually plot and scheme against him?
Did each plot increase in intensity?
In violence?

But humor should never be a disguise or an excuse for hurt. Words have sharp edges.source

Until it reached this point…

“Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him.” (Gen 37: 20)

…and have to be softened – if that’s the right word – to this point…

…they stripped him of his tunic, the long ornamented tunic he had on; then they took him and threw him into the cistern. (Gen 37:23,24)

and only in guilt decide it was better to sell him into slavery…

and then find it was too late, because he was gone.

Did they try to relieve their act by blaming it on whoever might have stolen him from the cistern?

And did they learn this defense from the constant teasing…
which maybe they justified as only “kidding around”?

But humor should never be a disguise or an excuse for hurt. Words have sharp edges. Mischief and “playful” strife can be like ants at a picnic – starting with just one or two – and soon the whole event is halted due to infestation. It’s the drips of water that cut. through. stone.

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. (Pr  26:20,21)

Love does not add fuel to the fire.source

So today I have one love to focus on…
for just one day…
this one small piece of love…

no bickering…
no contention…
no quarrels…
no tiffs…
no “playful” yet mischievous banter…
because it all invites hurt.

There will be no stirring of the pot just to watch it boil over.
If someone forces a conflict, and it’s possible to let that person win without causing harm, I will.
An argument today will be an opportunity for me to say, “Good point” and move on.

What begins with teasing leads to the pit.
What starts with contention ends in slavery.

Love does not add fuel to the fire.

Today…

I will not deny…

argue…

antagonize.

Today there will be no fights…

no hurts…

no debates…

no big.

and if you hearted this at all,
or if you think others might find it useful,
would you consider sharing it in one of the ways below?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Dawn September 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

Beautifully written, Craig . . . my sentiments exactly. I was teased and tickled a lot as a kid (and an adult) from numerous sources . . . I know how painful and confusing it can be to have people excuse their behaviour with “I was just kidding”, I was just having fun with you”, etc. It’s not fun if one of us is not laughing. It does “invite hurt” and leads to division rather than community and closeness.

I love how you drew your theme out of Joseph’s story . . . a perfect example.

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Craig September 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Thank you Andrea Dawn, I’m getting better at believing the nice things that good people say. I believe everything you wrote – and it touches my heart. Thank you! And God bless you my friend.

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Cora September 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Two images come to my mind today — they will be there until the day I die. One is of the flannelgraph stories of Joseph and his coat of many colors. I heard it countless times as a child. The other image is ME being teased unmercifully by my older brother and wondering why no one stopped it. The fact that my parents didn’t care enough to stop it hurt more than the actual battering of nastiness. Never in those stories of Joseph did I hear the glorious teaching that “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Or maybe I did, but could not see into the future of a child and understand that this could ever be good).

For the one who receives the stick end of the jealous, hating, teasing terrorists, there are two choices — a softening that leads to forgiveness and love, or a hardening that leads to bitterness and resentment. I chose the softening route. But it came with an almost militant stand to defend anyone I see who is bullied, teased, pushed down, or ignored. I rescue underdogs, defenseless kittens, teary-eyed kids who get pushed off their bikes. And, beware, because I call parents of bullies, and I call 911 and report animal abuse, child abuse, and anything that even smells close to that.

Your post today, Craig, came with a chance for me to wipe some tears away in Jesus’ Name.

And I LOVE the answer to an argument to be “Good Point!” I may just have to be saying that, too, today.

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Craig September 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

since this reply is day after my post – I’ll tell you that my day of no trouble making was uneventful – nobody made trouble with me – I made no trouble with anyone – there really weren’t any opportunities. Except for me – against me – and those are well-documented. No?

I hearted your comment – as always – and God bless and keep you my friend.

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Debbie September 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Ah Craig, this is something I have thought about. So thank you. I get made to feel bad if I don’t encourage this kind of behavior. It’s kind of tricky with my one daughter with special needs. I know she might be just having fun, joking. But she forms routines and habits and do I really want this to be her normal routine, always making fun of something or someone? I know what it is liked to be constantly kidded. After awhile it’s very hard to listen to that person, to have a real relationship with them, to believe anything that they say. Even though they are just joking.
God bless you for bringing this to the forefront today!

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Craig September 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

my father still does this – put people down by joking – thinking that the joke makes it okay – but it’s cruel – a dagger with a smile. No daggers with smiles! God bless you Debbie!

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Brandee Shafer September 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Yes. Good for you. May we all rise above such behavior.

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Craig September 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Brandee, any little piece of love is pretty easy to do for one day – and for one day – yesterday – I loved pretty well. We’ll see how today goes ツ thank you Brandee, and God bless you.

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Michelle September 8, 2011 at 6:14 am

“But humor should never be a disguise or an excuse for hurt. Words have sharp edges.”

They do. And over time, with God’s grace wounds have healed. But still, there are some I choose not to spend (much) time with.

And I try, and mostly succeed with God’s grace (always His grace) to have soft, gentle, encouraging words.

Thank you for your words in this place. I have learned much from you, and others.

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Craig September 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Michelle, thank you for READING these words – and always leaving such kind words yourself. And thank you for teaching ME – on many occasions! By the way, I guess it’s springtime down there?

God Bless!

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A. September 9, 2011 at 10:03 am

Craig, late, here, again, but love this post! Thank you for the teaching…and heart, too, the way around an argument…”That’s a good point.” You could do a whole series or post on these great ways to diffuse in the name of love…diffuse or respond to all kinds of tricky situations. i would big time heart a series on that!

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Craig September 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm

That would imply that I know all those ways – which I don’t – maybe somebody should step up and write a guest post or two – anonymously of course ツ

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