The Crushing Cost of Quarrels

water explosion

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14)

Some battles are worth fighting, but quarrels are wastes of time – time we’ll never recover or relive. I know some people who want to argue just for the sake of being able to prove a point and be declared “right.” But “right” at what cost?

Many of the things we disagree about aren’t paramount. They aren’t life-giving or life-changing. Yet through the disagreements, we damage each other. We try to dismantle the other point of view, but in the process, we dismantle friendships. We erode our own credibility. We elevate ideas or even ourselves in arrogant ways. The points we prove aren’t just about the content of our quarrels. We prove many things about ourselves that we might rather ignore.

Watching someone throw fuel on a fire might give a momentary thrill, but it’s destructive. So, the next time you dig in your heels to prove a point or spew your viewpoint on social media, remember: a breached dam isn’t cleansing; it’s destructive.

Security

The buzz among those who are travelling by air for Thanksgiving seems to be the looming boycott of TSA screening. A timely topic for me, since I just flew to and from Israel, experiencing heightened security not only in the airports but also on the ground in Israel.

On the ground, soldiers were everywhere…but not on guard as you might expect. Since military service is required for both young men and women in Israel, there are troops just about everywhere – many of them on “tours” of area sites. Kind of like field trips for elementary school children. Soldiers learn about their cities, people, and history by experiencing them.

This group was in the Old City in Jerusalem, where we often saw military touring. Sometimes on duty.

I was perplexed to see another group at Masada. Out of uniform but with guns.

I later saw this same young woman sitting in the shade on a rock on Masada – with her gun slung on her back while she knitted!

It seemed odd to me, but it’s a way of life in Israel.

We went through many checkpoints while driving throughout Israel. We walked across the checkpoints after visiting Bethlehem, which is Palestinian-controlled. We walked through metal detectors to enter the mall and other large department stores or areas. But…I never felt threatened. (Okay, the exit from Bethlehem was a bit nerve-wracking – but for other reasons. Perhaps a future blog post.) Being the leader of the group, I felt responsible and was always aware of what was going on around us. So if anyone would have felt threatened, it likely would have been me.

The Ben Gurion (Tel Aviv) airport was the most thorough airport security I’ve ever experienced. Even through the long lines, lifting my bags up and down on conveyor belts, opening my suitcases and shifting everything in them, emptying every bag of all electronics, and answering a wide array of questions, I didn’t feel interrogated or offended. I didn’t feel my rights were being infringed upon. I felt a bit more safe. Perhaps a lot more safe.

One day near the end of our trip, we approached a checkpoint. As our car slowed without stopping, an officer peeked inside and motioned us onward. I asked our driver what the point of the checkpoints are when people are rarely stopped (as far as I could see). His answer: “You Americans are more sensitive and less secure. We’re less sensitive and more secure.” In short…”We profile and don’t worry about offending others because our security is worth a possible offense to someone.”

A statement I don’t think I’d hear in the States.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I want to throw all sensitivity out the window. I’m not saying another country handles security better than we do or has all the solutions. But I wonder if our demand for personal rights gets in our way. What’s the cost of our arrogance?

If it makes you feel better, I’ll turn it on myself. What’s the cost of my arrogance? When do I expect or demand to be treated a certain way…but in the process negatively impact the process others must go through or their rights or security?

What is security? I wonder if we often think of security as “what’s most comfortable and convenient for me.” If that’s the case, how will we reconcile our “security” conflicting with someone else’s? Let’s not blur the lines. Security and rights or preferences aren’t the same thing.

Security does not equal safety. Security is freedom or protection from fear and anxiety. It doesn’t insure no harm comes to you. It’s a vigilant position. It’s not pulling a “security” blanket over your head and hiding. In that case, “security blanket” is an oxymoron. Security is taking the blanket off, keeping your eyes and ears open and watching for anything out of the ordinary…not just for you but for everyone else. Not to be paranoid but to be attentive.

The ultimate security you can have has nothing to do with your safety. You might be safe here on earth, but are you secure – for eternity? God’s the best security blanket you’ll ever have. And he never covers his eyes.

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. 2 Samuel 22:33