Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Crowd Gathered

Have you ever witnessed a fight? Or, for that matter have you ever been in a fight? I honestly believe that pride and stubbornness are the two contributing factors to getting one's teeth knocked out. Let me explain. When two people have a disagreement on something and refuse to walk away from the issue then it can escalate into something more. The following points seem to be consistent during this escalation time period:

  1. One of the two parties will begin to raise their voice. (This seems to happen especially if one party believes they are at a disadvantage.)
  2. When the volume of the conversation begins to rise people begin to gather. (This is usually a key element to allow pride to force either side NOT to back down. When you are in the middle of an argument and there are a bunch of people standing around, you will do about anything to save face.)
  3. If the disagreement continues into this stage, then one party may become physical by shoving the other.
  4. If no-one steps in, then it is on!
Does this sound familiar? It seems like this is usually the way it goes.

As I am writing this on my phone, something similar just happened. (What timing!) I was watching a basketball game when a player was ejected from the game. Someone on the player's team just challenged the official's supervisor about the actions of the referee. Neither side was giving in and the gentleman who initiated the challenge began to raise his voice. The supervisor, noticing the attention of the crowd, asked the man to move out into the hallway to continue the discussion. He was able to get the guy out of the spotlight and therefore reducing the opportunity for a bad conflict.

I just stopped on a passage in Scripture where one may see a glimpse of the beginning stages of conflict. The passage is found in Mark 9:14 and it says:

And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. [NKJV]

Imagine the scene in this passage. A father was looking for Jesus to heal his son from demon possession. Not finding Jesus he did find His disciples. He asked them to see if they could heal his son. If you recall the power granted to the disciples in chapter 6 you would remember that they were given power to heal and to cast out demons. However, in this situation they were not able to do so.

The scribes were obviously present when this happened and upon their failure they took the opportunity to challenge the disciple's authority. The Scripture also tells us that there was a crowd with them. It is starting to sound like trouble is on the horizon.

What causes people to welcome conflict? The answer is pride. In the situation with the disciples they began to take their power for granted. They began to rely on themselves rather than God for the miracles which resulted in failure. This failure probably led them to attempt to "save face" in the midst of the dispute. This could be a possible explanation for the gathering of the crowd.

The same thing happens today. When we rely on our own actions and turn our backs on God we set ourselves up for failure. Once in the middle of failure, pride takes over pushing us to save face. The result could make the newspapers.

Don't get me wrong, we must always stand for truth. However, if we are making a stand for God without selfish ambitions then the battle is Gods and not ours. The result is entirely different.

In Christ,

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