Do Not Fight Other Peoples Battles
Last Sunday Pastor Osien Sibanda taught us on the dangers of fighting other people’s battles. He called this the Dangerous Coalition. We find coalitions in many places like politics, the church, at work, and a lot more in families. These coalitions tend to land us in senseless battles sometimes. Take a look at what is happening in the world today. There is fighting and war in virtually every continent.
Alastair Arnott, author of Positive Failure once said, “Fighting against is easy, but fighting for requires wisdom, courage, and vulnerability.” you can be provoked into fights that take away your energy, or other times we fight because we hear things about other people. “Getting to know someone for yourself is better than listening to others opinion about them” We get many opinions from other people but don’t take the time to get to know that person, and in the end we start fighting based on someone else’s opinion. It’s important not to believe everything you hear but to check first otherwise you will end up in a war that can damage you.
When you make decisions make decisions that are yours, not others. It also helps not to make decisions based on who is right, but rather what is right. If you make the decision on what is right, then it does not matter who is wrong, even if it is your own father as you will not be seen as standing against your father.
James 4:1 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Most fights and battles actually come from people’s desires. When people realise that they may not win their battle that is when they rope in unsuspecting friends. If someone comes trying to mobilise you into fighting then that means they already had that desire inside of them and want to recruit you to see their desire through. ‘Don’t waste your emotion and intellect for someone else’s highly emotional, semi-logical, ego-conquest’ (Dan/Edgy Conversations). Inside of us is something called ego, and ego is a dangerous thing. It also says not to waste your emotions because they can be senseless. Emotions have a habit of showing up when you are angry or disappointed. Watch out!
The first person that was almost recruited into a fight is our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us see how he handled the situation. Luke 12:13 reads “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus was talking about the Kingdom, but then someone in the crown who was dealing with family feud realised that Jesus had influence and could help, so he tried to list Him in his army. This person wanted to use Jesus’ influence to twist his brother’s hand to share the inheritance with him. But notice in that statement that he does not explain to Jesus why the entire inheritance is with the brother so that Jesus can make an informed decision. He does not give a background of the situation, but presents an emotionally charged request. Therefore there is no clear understanding as to why the brother has everything. He expects Jesus to make a judgement based on one side of the story and Jesus objected!
Jesus replied “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Jesus would not get involved in that battle because the facts were not clear and He had His own battle facing him, which was the cross. Jesus’ battle was to bring both of the brothers to salvation and so joining this fight would have had the potential to lose one of them. He could have easily helped the young man win his battle but fail on his own. Watch out!
Who is calling you for their fight? People will come with their side of the story without giving you all the information. Don’t just send your blows on emotion charged claims; you will die for another man’s battle like Judas Iscariot. You must demand more information from him or her before you involve yourself.
1 Kings 3 tells the story of Solomon’s wise judgement on who was the true mother of the living child. This was a battle where, if Solomon had no wisdom, he would have been guilty of murder like one of the prostitute. How could she ask the King to kill an innocent child? This is an example of someone who handled the challenge well.
Dale Carnegie says, “You must learn to strategically choose battles that are worth the wounds” If you come out of a battle with wounds then let that be your testimony for a worthwhile fight, just like Jacob who was limping after wrestling with God but yet he was blessed. You must account for your wounds so you can learn to avoid certain battles. Some of you just pick battle after battle and don’t even know who wounded you in the end. Watch out and wise up.
Another example is in 2 Samuel 10:19 which reads “And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.” Here the Syrians had been roped in to help in a battle where they knew nothing of the details and they suffered heavily. In the beginning of this story David was only offering Hanun genuine kindness, but the problem was the princes who had an ego. They sowed doubt and suspicion in the King. Certain battles are driven by other people’s ego and they will sow wrong seeds in you that will cause you to turn away God’s blessings. It was the princes who brought doubt and suspicion to an act of kindness that ended with the King making a terrible mistake.
In verse 4 we are told that it was Hanun, not the princes who “took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.” When suspicion and wrong motives are planted, you will do silly things. Hanun could have easily just said ‘no thank you’ and sent the men on their way, but instead he took it further by humiliating them. He did this himself but it was because of someone else’s ego, and now it’s not the princes who David is looking to fight, but it is Hanun. He now finds himself in a battle he had not planned for.
It was then in verse 6 that the people of Ammon hired the Syrians. The Syrians were not there when the beards were being shaved, neither did they know of the causes but were just told to come and fight. Unfortunately, they obliged. Many of us are hired into the battles of people who have made mistakes and want to use you as a shield. It’s funny how sometimes the people you will take a bullet for are the ones behind the trigger. This is why you cannot account for your wounds. There is friendly fire. You must learn to ask ‘who am I fighting?’ and ‘Why am I fighting?’
There is another battle of Miriam and Aaron in Number 12:1-15. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses who was close to God after Miriam instigated the fight. Mariam made a coalition with Aaron to support her issue with Moses’ Ethiopian wife. This is a good example of family nonsense because Miriam, as the sister, wanted to be closer to Moses who was closer to God and she saw the wife as just a foreigner standing in her way. She said, ““Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it” When the Lord hears these kind of things then you are in trouble because The Lord will sort you out. Miriam concealed her issue of the wife with an issue of Ministry. She recruited Aaron into this battle but he himself knew that his only job was to speak the words of Moses so there is no way he could say these things because it never happened. The problem here is the sister, Miriam, who did not like the kind of woman Moses married.
God heard all of these things and intervened in verse 4 “Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam…” The Lord is setting the record straight in saying “I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings…”. The Lord’s anger was kindled against them and He departed, but as soon as the presence of the Lord left them “Miriam became leprous, white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper” I’m sure by now Aaron was thinking ‘what did I get myself into?’ He quickly repents and he pleads to Moses for mercy, the same person he was trying to fight against.
These are just a few of many examples from the bible that teach us how to pick our battles. It is important to learn this because there are endless battles that present themselves everyday before you. You are persuaded by friends, peers, and family to join in a fight so you must watch out.
This is a lesson that says don’t fight battles that don’t belong to you!
Listen to this sermon here
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