Have you ever fought the wrong battle?
This past summer, just before I graduated with two Master’s degrees, I was having trouble with my lawnmower. It sputtered out on me and would not work. So I peeked in the gas tank, saw some shimmery substance, and tried to start the mower again. It did not work.
Determined to fix the lawnmower without needing help (like I normally do with anything mechanical), I went to buy a new spark plug. Still nothing. So I bought a new air filter. (Technically, my dad bought them for me since he and my mom were here visiting for my graduation.) Still did not work.
I gave in. I asked my friend, Terry, for help. He came over. He looked in the gas tank. Bone dry.
I was fighting the wrong battle.
Have you ever fought the wrong battle? Unfortunately, I can safely assume that if you are a Christian in America today, you have. We (apparently) love to fight and to argue. We are arguing about what people who sell duck calls say and where they speak. We are arguing about chicken sandwiches and craft supplies. We are arguing about non-discriminatory hiring practices. We are arguing about a movie’s interpretation of a story. We are arguing that entitled rich white men on one side of the aisle have a better view of what’s right for the country than the entitled rich white men on the other side of the aisle.
We are fighting and fighting and fighting.
But none of it is the right battle to be engaged in.
There are people in my immediate social circles who are hurting right now. Their pain is very real. They are confused. They are sad. They feel helpless or hopeless. They feel like they just want to crawl under a rock and weep. They wonder when the pain is going to stop. They wonder when things will finally start going their way.
They wonder when people who claim the name of “Christian” will actually pay any attention to them.
If we are going to fight, let’s fight for those the people of God have been called to fight for since the beginning:
Let’s fight for the people Jesus fought for: women and children, socially outcast, poor, sick, and religious outsiders.
Do you want to know the cure for fighting too much?
Quit arguing. Quit being defensive. Quit trying to prove that you are right.
Stop fighting and start listening.
Listen to what other people have to say. Listen without responding. Learn where they are coming from and why. Pay close attention and maybe you will find that you have more in common than you realize.
Stop fighting and start looking at the people in your neighborhood, at your church, at your work, or in your family.
Who are the ones who need something you have to offer? Give it to them. Provide blessings for those who go without. Provide a voice for those who think they have none.
Stop fighting and start loving.
Stop fighting and start serving.
At the very least, stop fighting the wrong battles.