Category: <span>thoughts by Bill Strom</span>

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.”
1 Corinthian 7: 23

The story is told of a young boy taken with model ship building and the sailing of his boats on the lake outside of town. After saving up quite a large sum from mowing lawns and walking dogs, he purchased a replica of the Bluenose, the famed Nova Scotian racing schooner. After months of cutting, gluing and painting, he completed the project and began sailing it for his own pleasure and those who stopped to watch.

One day turned especially windy and his remote control radio malfunctioned, and despite every effort to turn the small ship, he watched his Bluenose float far off shore. It was lost.

Several weeks later he was overjoyed to see in the window of a hobby store his boat, for sale. He spoke with the owner, explaining that this was his boat. The businessman understood, but held his ground: “If you want it back, you’ll have to buy it. Twenty bucks.

The youngster’s love and pain led him to toil again, and before long, he had enough. Upon buying the boat, he walked from the store and said, “Once I created you, and you were mine. Now I have bought you, so you are doubly mine.”

Somewhere after God created people, we got lost. Whether by our choices, or circumstances beyond our control, we drifted from God. How good that he longed for our return, however damaged we became. How wonderful that he paid a price in Jesus’ sacrifice to show his love and make us doubly his.

God, I have to admit that I’ve drifted. Sometimes it has been just from coasting and not caring about relating with you. Other times I have made bad choices that have put space between us. Thank you for wanting me back, and paying the price to buy me back. Thank you for your sacrificial love to own me again. Amen.

Thought: If you feel like you are drifting, ask someone you trust how you can enjoy God’s colossal love again, or for the first time.

By Bill Strom

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hockey“If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” Luke 6:29

It’s the playoffs, and during them hockey players hold to the unspoken rule that giving hard hits is fine, but one ought to avoid outright fights. This agreement makes for fast-skating, hard-hitting hockey without the tough-man antics of dropping the gloves for a mid-ice brawl. Most would say it makes better hockey.

I know it might be a stretch, but what if we banned fighting in hockey during the regular season? Would we get better hockey? Probably so. Or what if we dropped fighting from politics and international relations and neighborhood issues. Or bring it closer to home. What if we quit fighting at our workplace and home space, in our relating to colleagues, friends, and family?

Jesus said as much. In Luke he says if someone picks a fight with us, we shouldn’t retaliate. “Turn the other cheek” the saying goes, and even more. “If he takes your coat, give him your shirt too.

In The Upside Down Kingdom, Donald Kraybill writes, ”A blow on the right cheek had special significance in Jewish culture. It symbolized ultimate contempt. Its punishment was a fine equivalent to a year’s wages. In other words, Jesus forbids his disciples to retaliate even in the face of the most abusive insult.” (p. 196)

I am all for “fighting the good fight” if it means living the faith to the fullest, but I am not going to take that phrase literally. By turning the other cheek I hope to squelch violence and help the offender realize their wrong.

God, it’s so easy to fight back in conflict situations. Help me see that you called us to love everyone, even our enemies. May I seek peaceful ways to reconcile differences, and in doing so fight faithfully for what is right and good. Amen.

Take Action: The next time you are in a conflict situation, look for ways to defuse the situation through apology, listening, or walking away

By Dr. Bill Strom

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