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You Have the Power

by J. M. Farro on November 7th, 2021

   “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1 NIV

   During my time alone with the Lord the other morning, I heard Him speak to my heart, “You have the power.”  When I asked Him to explain to me exactly what He meant, He told me, “You have the power to cause or prevent strife.”  Suddenly, I thought about the Scripture above.  My response in a tense situation can literally defuse anger, or stir it up.  The Passion Translation reads: “Respond gently when you are confronted and you’ll defuse the rage of another.  Responding with sharp, cutting words will only make it worse.  Don’t you know that being angry can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men?” (Proverbs 15:1 TPT)  The plain truth of the matter is that our anger and harsh words can damage our witness for Christ.  We need to see this as too high a price to pay.

   When my husband, Joe, and I were getting counseling in our early years of marriage, and we would talk about the strife in our extended families, our Christian counselor would say, “Don’t feed into that!”  She was undoubtedly thinking of Proverbs 26:21 (TPT), which says: “Add fuel to the fire and the blaze goes on.  So add an argumentative man to the mix, and you’ll keep strife alive.”  God doesn’t want us adding fuel to the fire in a tense situation.  His Word says, “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife.” (Proverbs 16:28 NLT)  We are not called to be troublemakers, but peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9)

   Sometimes, we don’t even realize that Satan is working behind the scenes to stir up strife in our relationships.  The Bible says: “The beginning of strife is like letting out water [as from a small break in a dam; first it trickles and then it gushes]; therefore abandon the quarrel before it breaks out and tempers explode.” (Proverbs 17:14 AMP)  If we catch strife at the “trickle” stage, we can cut it off before it “gushes” and “tempers explode.”  Then we can shut the door in the devil’s face and thwart his evil schemes.

   An effective way of avoiding strife is to heed the instructions in Ephesians 4:31-32 (MSG): “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.  Be gentle with one another, sensitive.  Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”  Limiting strife in your life will make you happier, healthier, and more peaceful.  And it will make your relationships better in every way!

   Lord, teach me how to avoid strife in all of my relationships and circumstances.  When I need to confront someone, enable me to “speak the truth in love” to them. (Ephesians 4:15)  Help me to cut strife off at the “trickle” stage, before it does me or anyone else any harm.  Thank You that as I am sensitive to others’ feelings, and I forgive everyone “quickly and thoroughly,” You will bless me and use me in new and exciting ways for Your glory!

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