Here’s an embarrassing story from my home province of Ontario. Recently, the police were called to one of the picturesque parks along Lake Ontario. They responded to a call about a family dispute that erupted during a camping trip. A woman who believes the earth is flat was fighting with her boyfriend’s father who believes the earth is round. And by fighting, I mean it had turned physical. So angry had the individuals become that they started throwing camping equipment at each other and into a fire. This included a propane tank and eventually resulted in the fire department having to come and put out the flames. All because some guy refuses to believe the earth is flat!
Police said that the individuals will be charged with ‘mischief’ and that both sides have indicated that they would not change their views. I wonder what exciting topics that family will discuss over Christmas dinner. I bet they can hardly wait.
People fight about the weirdest things. How does that happen? How do people get into a fight about the shape of the earth? James asked a similar question: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1)
We’d like to think that ‘fights and quarrels’ are someone else’s fault. We say things like, “That person made me so mad!” We blame them for starting an argument. In reality, however, the problem lies within us. It’s our desire to “be right” or to protect ourselves from harm. Our ego and our defensive nature are often the cause of problems.
The solution, then, needs to start with our own hearts. We have a daily need to invite the Spirit to work within us that we might be an instrument of peace and not war. Living in a more peaceful world starts with peace within us.