Monday, September 12, 2011

Picking Your Battles

How Do I Know Which Fights to Fight and Which to "Pass On"?

  1. Framing the question
    1. Extreme 1: Never fight.
      1. Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
      2. 1 Timothy 2:24, “And the servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gently to all, apt to teach, patient.
    2. “Leave ‘em alone won’t work. Won’t accord with Scripture. God never meant for children to run the home.
      1. Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
      2. Proverbs 29:17, “Correct your son and he will give you rest, yes, he will give delight to your soul.”
    3. Extreme 2: Fight every battle to the death.
      1. Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it from him.”
      2. Proverbs 23:13, “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.”
    4. Fight every battle to the death won’t work. Won’t accord with Scripture. God never meant for home to be a war zone.
      1. a. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way that he should go (literally “according to his way”) and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
      2. Ephesians 6:4, “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
    5. Definition of “fight.”
      1. “You should never fight. Families should never fight. Families love and respect one another. They don’t fight, they discuss.”
      2. Shorthand communication. Truth.
  2. Guiding Principles
    1. There are times to fight. Times to take a stand and hold it.
      1. Fight for truth and right. Fight when not fighting would dishonor or disobey God.
        1. Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
        2. Remember Eli and his sons?
          1. 1 Samuel 2:29-30 and 3:11-13.
          2. It wasn’t that Eli didn’t try. Read 2:22-25. It was that he didn’t try enough.
      2. Fight when not fighting shows apathy. Fight when not fighting shows lack of love.
        1. Remember the terrible incident with Amnon and Tamar, recorded in 2 Samuel 13?
        2. David knew what Amnon did. He knew how wrong it was.
        3. 2 Samuel 13:21, “But when King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.” That’s it. Angry, but inactive. Angry, but detached. And we know what it cost him.
        4. Fight when not fighting shows lack of love. But, don’t fight when you can’t fight in love. Without love, we make a mess of everything.
      3. Fight when not fighting shows lack of backbone.
        1. 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave be strong.”
        2. Wisdom of 2 parents, united in parenting. They support one another. When one wavers, the other bolsters them both.
        3. Fight when not fighting means abdicating your role as parents, when not fighting would diminish your character or destroy your credibility.
        4. Some say, “Fight only when you can win.” Because of the point that we’re discussing now, I disagree. Sometimes we fight even though we know we can’t win. We fight because of what we’d be if we didn’t.
    2. There are times not to fight.
      1. Don’t fight just because others have or do.
        1. Tremendously strong tendency to reproduce or perpetuate our families of origin. To continue the same flaws and fights we grew up with. To bring battles and baggage from our youth into adulthood.
        2. It takes honest, insightful, wise people to avoid this trap.
        3. It may be that none of us avoid it perfectly.
      2. Don’t fight just because you always have.
        1. Key management principle, “If we keeping doing what we’ve always done, then we’ll keeping getting what we’ve always got.”
        2. Counseling version, “If what you’ve been trying isn’t working, try something else.”
        3. Some fights have gone on for so long or they’ve been so badly handled that they must be given up. There’s not resolution. There will be no winners. The only way to mitigate the damage is to just stop fighting.
      3. Don’t fight when the issue is just a matter of preference or opinion. IE, when its preference or opinion rather than right and truth.
        1. Pierced ears. Age of dating.
        2. Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.”
      4. Don’t fight over things.
        1. Matthew 5:40, “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.” V. 41 = go the second mile.
        2. 1 Corinthians 6:7, regarding those who “go to law before the unrighteous,” “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept the wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”
      5. Don’t fight when natural consequences can do the teaching for you.
        1. True of homework. True of dirty laundry.
        2. Don’t rescue when that takes away their responsibility. Don’t do their worrying for them. Don’t fight when their real battle is with themselves.
      6. Don’t fight when you can’t keep your cool. IE, keep your temper and your perspective.
        1. Galatians 6:1-2. Excellent.
        2. Romans 12:17-21.
        3. Example of Christ. 1 Peter 2:22-23, “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth. Who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously…”
    3. Times to stop fighting.
      1. Stop fighting once you’ve made your position clear.
        1. 1 Peter 3:1-2. Why? What?
        2. Don’t nag. Once you’ve gone on record and stated the needed truth, let you life do your talking.
        3. Why? Further words do more harm than good. They become nagging. They are reduced to the level of irritating background noise. They’re not heard any more. They’re not heard, they’re just resented. They grind away at your relationship.
      2. Stop fighting if you realize that fighting is all you are doing.
      3. Stop fighting if you realize that your main objective is to win. Christian objective = to love, to help, to protect, to serve

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