There once was an older man who went out jogging. He was running around a track that circled the high school football field while the team was conducting their practice. When the football players began running their sprints up and down the field, the man said to himself, “I’ll just keep running until they quit.” So they ran. And he ran. And they kept on running. So he kept on running. Finally, in total exhaustion the man had to stop. When he stopped, an equally exhausted football player walked over to him and said, “Boy, I’m glad you finally stopped, mister. Our coach told us that we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging!”

It seems to me that we can sometimes find ourselves in a similar kind of situation when it comes to anger and conflict. We have a disagreement with someone and get into an argument. Voices get raised. Neither side wants to be the first to give in, to stop speaking in anger. Everyone has the attitude, “I’ll just keep on till they quit.” So the other party stays mad. So we stay mad. And on we go, eventually finding ourselves emotionally and even physically exhausted by the ongoing animosity.

Let me challenge you to do something very difficult. The next time you get in an argument, be the first to give in. Be the first to stop the yelling and the name-calling. Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” It’s the quickest way to stop the vicious cycle.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Alan Smith
via church of Christ
Massillon, OH

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