Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, February, 2014

posted Jan 30, 2014, 6:45 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Jan 30, 2014, 6:45 AM ]

AN IMPORTANT TRIP

 

Recently, I came across the following saying to the effect that, “The most important trip you may ever take in life is meeting people halfway.” You may have heard it said that it‘s not difficult to be an angel as long as no one ruffles your feathers. The major problem with that is that there never seems to be a lack of “feather rufflers” who can be found just about everywhere imaginable.

 

The story is told of a certain 19th Century German statesman by the name of Prince Otto von Bismarck and an antagonist who opposed his militaristic policies. Bismarck became so incensed and aggravated by this opponent's criticism (his feathers were definitely ruffled), that the prince challenged his nemesis to a duel.

 

Protocol for such a situation had it that the one challenged was to have the choice of weapons. Bismarck's political adversary, being the one challenged and therefore entitled to choose the dueling weapons, selected as his choice of weapons two pork sausages. One sausage was normal while the other was loaded with poison.

 

He then sent word to Bismarck, along with the pair of sausages, that one sausage was safe to eat. The other, however, had been poisoned with trichinella larvae, which would cause a slow and lingering death, or at least long invalidism. He informed the prince that he should choose which sausage to eat and said he would then eat the other one.

 

Bismarck reasoned that while a man might die with some sort of honor on a dueling field, this was never going to be possible by contracting food poisoning. He sent the following message back, "His highness has destroyed the sausages and asks that you be his guest at dinner this evening. After due consideration, he has concluded that he may have been slightly in error. He believes an amicable resolution can be reached."

 

This is a good illustration of the maxim that one of the most important trips a person ever takes is "to meet someone halfway." Bismarck met his adversary halfway and chose to create something useful from this confrontation.

 

Differences of opinion are bound to occur. We are not always going to agree with the practices, choices and views of others. We can choose on the differences we have with someone else or focus instead on those similarities we hold in common.

 

When others ruffle our feathers, we always have a choice. We can meet them on the dueling field, where one will clearly win and the other will lose or we can meet them halfway. Even armed only with words, we can seek to inflict hurt and harm or we can seek a more peaceable solution.

 

How we choose to act will make a world of difference. We probably can all agree that the world would be better off if more people were willing to meet others halfway rather than always going around frustrated and angry.

 

Whenever there is conflict and alienation, remember the message of Ephesians 2:14: “For Christ himself has brought peace to us..., in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” And always remember that one of the most important trips you can ever make is to meet someone halfway!


George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries

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