March 21, 2018, Today’s Blog Post: Choosing Grass over Grace
I am sure that you and I have known homeowners that constructed a wall or a fence on their property line to keep their nosy neighbors from seeing what goes on in their house. Sometimes bitter fights can break out if people do not align the fence on their exact property line. I recall recently that one of our senators, Rand Paul got into a dispute with one of his neighbors over a fence that was put up in his yard. The scenario turned out rather nasty, as his neighbor attacked him and Rand Paul wound up receiving injuries due to the confrontational neighbor.
Arguing over land and property lines is nothing new. A story is told in the March 5th issue of the Daily Bread in which a man named Archie came home to find his neighbor had erected a wooden fence five feet inside his property line. He and his neighbor got into several arguments over the wooden fence. They just could not resolve the issue. He even offered to split the cost of the fence, but the neighbor would not accept his offer. Archie could have taken the man to court and exercised his rights to get his neighbor to remove the fence but instead, he took the high road and extended grace and meekness rather than anger, revenge, and un-forgiveness.
Some people would say that Archie was a punk or a wimp. But I disagree. Archie was demonstrating the fruit of meekness and grace. Meekness is not a sign of weakness; it is actually what you call, “Strength under God’s control.” He chose grace rather than argue over a fence and a patch of grass.
This incident is not the first incident in which men argued over a property lines. If you recall, Abraham and his nephew Lot had a disagreement over some land. Their herds and flocks were growing by leaps and bounds and in the process they crossed over into one another’s property. The quarrel was actually carried on between Abraham’s and Lot’s herders. There was also Canaanites and Perizzites (an unbelieving community) living in the land at that time.” To solve this problem, Abraham came up with an idea. Let’s look at the text in
Genesis 13:7-12 New International Version (NIV)
7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” 10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
Lot obviously thought he got the better end of the deal. Abraham was satisfied with what was left over and he wound up inheriting the Promised Land, while Lot lost it all. History would prove that Lot, in casting his tent toward Sodom, would lose everything in the end.
We all have rights and we can certainly claim them. But it is always better to live in peace and harmony with your family and your neighbors. There are times that you should not allow yourself to be a push over, but you must always weigh the issue carefully. Paul confronted the Sanhedrin and demanded his rights when they were going to beat him arrest him, and probably kill him. He appealed to Caesar’s House. And because he was a Roman Citizen, they had to allow him to stand trial in Caesar’s court.
But we can choose to set aside our rights and show the world a better way. This is what the Bible calls “Meekness”-not weakness. The Holy Spirit’s power will allow you to suffer, go through, be taken advantaged of in order to display his character, especially to those who may be outside of the body of Christ. Remember our life will and can help to paint a picture of who God is and what He looks like, and what His character displays.
Lord, help us to use wisdom to know when giving up my rights would best demonstrate your great love and awesome grace. Amen
Our Daily Bread Jan. - Mar. 2018 Grass or Grace by David H. Roper
Commentary by Rev. Lydia Ford