An old story is told about two men who moved to the desert to devote themselves to holy living and prayer. The two hermits lived together in the same hut, but had never had even the slightest disagreement. One said to the other, “Let us have one quarrel, the way other men do.” The second answered, “But I do not know how one makes a quarrel.” The first replied, “Look, I will set a tile between us and say, ‘That is mine,’ and you say, ‘It is mine,’ and in this way trouble and contention will arise. They agreed to do this. They set the tile between them and the first holy man said, “It is mine.” The second replied, “I hope that it is mine.” To which the first answered, “If it is yours, take it.” After that, they could find no way of quarreling.
Holy hermits living in the desert may not be able to find much to quarrel about, but the rest of us are not so lucky! Strife seems to be our middle name. Any two people being together seem to be like flint and steel to make sparks. Yet most people really do want to get along with others. The inability to get along with others has wreaked havoc on both personal and international levels. On the personal level, it has injured or even ended careers of people who seen very promising. Dr. William Menninger has found some remarkable statistics regarding people who have been fired from their jobs in industry. Social incompetence accounts for 60% to 80% of the failures. Only about 20% to 40% are due to technical incompetence.
Practice goodness, for your sake, others’ sake, and God’s sake. That gives your brother the benefit of the doubt. It helps to make you open to him rather than closed.
Accountability is one strategy for living up to our highest potential rather than just drifting along. Don’t starve to death spiritually. Life off the fruit of the Spirit.
O God, help me to be a man of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Let me reach out to my brothers and help them achieve this, too. Through Christ, Amen.