Don Kesner

Life is full of battles of one kind or another. Of course, there are the literal wars that take place between nations, but I’m not referring to that type of battle. Instead, I’m talking about those personal battles that we have with our children, our spouse, people we work with, the meter-maid who gave us the ticket just as we rounded the corner to get in our car. The list goes on and on, and there are times when it seems there is no way of getting through the day without having a confrontation with someone or even many someones.

And just as there are countless people with whom we could possibly get into a confrontation, there are just as many reasons as to why we find ourselves going into battle. There’s that “argument” that causes a spouse to end up sleeping on the sofa or that confrontation about religion or politics. At times, once we have argued to the point that we feel spent from the bickering back and forth, we wonder why we picked that person and/or topic to argue over. The secret, of course, is to pick our battles. We must choose whether or not a victory (or defeat) is really worth going into battle for.

There are a few questions we may want to ask ourselves before suiting up and arming ourselves for battle. For instance, is my point so worth making that I am willing to risk having to eat a peanut butter sandwich for dinner instead of a juicy steak and baked potato? Is the point worth risking a friendship over? Do we have to be right in this case? Will the thing we are arguing over be relevant an hour from now? Or will it be important tomorrow that I have proven my point today? Is proving my point really necessary, or am I simply feeding my own ego by needing to be right in this case (whatever it is)?

It is vitally important for us to pick our battles in every situation. I have a policy at my church: If it doesn’t have “Kingdom of God value,” we aren’t going to argue over it.

I have dealt with so many couples over the years who have decided to call it quits, simply because they can’t get along. Usually, if that is the reason for calling it quits, then there are far too many “things” that they have allowed to become bigger than what they really are. They have made mountains out of molehills because there apparently wasn’t that much they couldn’t agree on before they were married. They have failed to pick their battles.

Before suiting up or preparing to go into any battle, no matter who it is with, we need to ask ourselves what we need to accomplish by taking this battle on. Is this about more than my ego? Is this battle worth the carnage that will be left lying around afterward? Is the relationship more important than the victory, whether with a spouse, a co-worker, one of our children or others?

Remember, for there to be a victor in every battle; someone has to lose. That’s when feelings get hurt. When the battle’s over, there are usually injuries (sometimes on both parts) that need time to heal. Injuries often leave scars, and even though the injury may heal, the scar will be a constant reminder of the battle that took place.

Actually, many of the battles we take on really are not worth the end results because even if we win, we have put a distance between the person we just fought with and us.

Couples, or friends, too often begin to avoid certain topics in conversations so as to not have to argue over the matter. In a worst-case scenario, they begin to avoid each other so as to not get into an argument.

So, before every battle, remember, there is a winner and a loser. With that in mind, ask yourself before you suit up, “Do I really want to die on this mountain?

First published Oct. 14, 2015

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