It was a three-towel mop-up.
Settling down now with coffee in hand, I wonder what the lesson was in the mess?
Soon, I saw an implicit comparison: Thinking I am doing everything “right” doesn’t mean, in fact, I am. Nor does doing my things “right” mean I can control other things – or people. Last night I inadvertently did, or did not do, something that caused the hot coffee to overflow the pot this morning. Maybe, I added a bit too much finely ground coffee? Or, perhaps I did not tighten the thermos lid thoroughly, or I misaligned it? It’s easy to see who ultimately caused the overflow this morning – even though making a mess was not my aim. It was also easy to see that the only choice I had was cleaning up the mess and starting over.
But suppose I had ignored the coffee spill until a more convenient time – or expected Doug to deal with the mess? Really crazy, huh?
Nope – that’s how most of us often deal with conflict if we aren’t blowing our stacks! (And I include Christians!)
Dissension between family and friends is often a little like my coffee debacle – surprising, painful and messy. But, instead of quickly addressing the mess, we try to ignore a conflict – until a more convenient time. Or, we pass the problem off to someone else to solve. Yet the pain of unresolved conflict is just as messy and dangerous as an overflowing pot of hot coffee – and might take more than three towels to clean up!
So, if you suspect something isn’t perking as intended, consider whether you're making peace quickly is as necessary as the need for me stop a hot coffee spill. Peacemaking can be messy. We might get burned. And we may need help doing it. Here’s some help from Scripture:
When conflict next erupts, I hope I remember pretending the mess is not my problem is as unwise as letting a coffee maker continue to flood the counter.
- Have you fallen out with someone – because they seem like a jerk? (See Matthew 18:15)
- Has a relationship cooled for no apparent reason? (See Matthew 5:23-25)
- Are you convinced you are faultless in a disagreement? (See Luke 21:31-32)
- Are you a Christian, wanting to reflect Him? See Matthew 5:9 in the following translations:
- "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (ESV)
- “Happy are those who strive for peace-they shall be called the sons of God.” (TLB)
- "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.” (THE MESSAGE)
Remedy it, or welcome it: a wise man's only two choices. ~The Quote Garden