Visiting NYC this fall, I was reminded that it is important to fight fair while at the same time, not wasting energy to fight when it isn’t necessary.
In Grand Central Station, I saw three men react in anger—shoving a chair into a lady simply because she said the chair was taken.
They didn’t stop there. They continued to fight over the chairs. The lady still had not engaged in their argument—she was never sucked in to the unhealthy conflict but instead, she walked away.
She had a choice. She could have engaged in unhealthy, unnecessary conflict. But she chose a different way.
Devoting our energy to make a difference or healthy conflict is so important. We can ask ourselves the question, “What are we going to devote our energy to?” Better yet, we can pose the question, “What are we allowing ourselves to get pulled in to that is actually wasting energy?”
James, the brother of Jesus, writes as a great reminder to us to let every person be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” I’d say the lady at Grand Central did just that.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” That comes from the book of Proverbs, which is loaded with lots of wisdom. It is awesome the way Grand Central Lady handled her situation inevitably turned away wrath. She wasted no energy on pointless conflict.
In case you were wondering, the men walked away, retrieved another chair and scowled under their breath.
Imagine what might have happened had Grand Central Lady not used wisdom and great conflict skills. Anger could have flared in just a few moments.
Take a moment today to consider what good things your energy is being used for and how you can intentionally avoid things that suck us in to unhealthy conflict and wasted energy. What better way could our energy be used?
When good conflict is necessary consider the words of James. He has lots of wisdom to share.