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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Black Feather

Ever hear of Occam's Razor?
Its basic tenant is, "the simplest explanation is usually the right one."
Many use Occam's Razor as a means to slice through a problem / situation in order to eliminate unnecessary steps.

Today, I would like to apply Occam's Razor to conflict. Jesus said, "If you have an issue with someone, the best way to handle the difficulty is to simply go to them." Face to face. Toe to toe. Heart to heart. It's a rather direct approach.
It's a rather gutsy one too.  The genius is found in its simplicity.

Just think for a moment just how many other ways you and I handle conflict:
-The Ostrich approach (ignore it).
-The Bursting a blood vessel approach (do you really need an explanation?).
-The Big Daddy approach (cover it up).

Possibly the most dangerous approach is the "Black Feather" approach.
Below, I will share a short story that illustrates this powerfully.

In a small German village, a woman differed with her minister and became so angry that she began spreading ugly rumors about him around town. As fate would have it, she eventually became ill and called on the minister to pray for her. He came gladly, and she asked his forgiveness of her gossiping. "I will grant you forgiveness," the minister said, "but there's something you must do."

"I'll do anything," the woman said.

"As soon as you get well, go pluck the feathers from a black chicken and put them into a basket and bring them to me."  When the woman got well, she did what the minister asked her to do and presented the basket of feathers to the minister.

"You did well," the minister said. "Now take this basket of feathers and scatter them in the corners of the marketplace and from the towers of the church. Scatter them throughout the town. Then return to me."

So the woman did.


She walked from one end of town to the other, scattering the feathers. Then she returned to her pastor. "I have done as you asked," she said.
"Very well. Now take your basket and collect all the feathers. Make sure not one is missing."
"But that is not possible!" the woman said with a choking cry.  "The wind has carried many of them away.

"So it is with your words," the minister said. "While I have gladly forgiven you, do not forget that you can never undo the damage your untrue words have done."



Any
reasonable person will see that out of all the alternative options, the direct approach is certainly the best.  It is also the toughest --let's be honest, nobody is running to the front of the line when it comes to conflict resolution. One of my favorite quotes is Thomas Watson's, "What fools are they who, for a drop of pleasure, drink a sea of wrath." This is precisely what happens when you and I choose to let things fester within our hearts by not going directly to the source of our conflict. In a real way, it is like we gladfully go to the shelf, pour ourselves a glass of destruction and drink it straight down. Your life will be better off if you put that glass down and get direct when handling conflict.  When you do, you will switch that old glass of wrath for a fresh goblet of peace. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Welcome to Heaven

I once heard a story about the difference between Heaven and Hell.

A man dies; he’s met in a kind of divine foyer by an angel and taken to a huge room with a long table, covered with plates and bowls heaped with delicious food. There are people sitting all along both sides of the table, but they look angry, frustrated — and famished. Suddenly the man notices that none of the people have elbow joints. They’re all desperately trying to feed themselves, and they can’t reach their mouths. The angel says, “This is Hell.”




Then the man is whisked by the angel to another room that looks exactly the same –long table heaped with food; people down both sides, no elbow joints...but these people look happy and well-nourished.
This is Heaven,” the angel says.


Then the man looks closer,
and sees that all the people are feeding each other across the table.

The point? Much of life is about perspective. 
It has been said that life is not about the cards that you are dealt; rather it is how you play the cards that you have been dealt.  God has placed you here on earth for a reason.  And if you are reading this post, then you can assume that you still have one.

-May you find it.
-----May you thrive.
-May you live. 

May you welcome people to heaven on earth... 

I John 3: 16-17.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him. 
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.