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Agree with Your Adversary Quickly

"Agree with your adversary quickly."1

I have read how, on one occasion, the English evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770) received a very critical letter accusing him of doing something wrong. His reply was brief and to the point: "I thank you heartily for your letter. As for what you and my other enemies are saying against me, I know worse about myself than you will ever say about me. With love in Christ, George Whitefield."

Whitefield didn't defend himself, probably because he wasn't guilty of what he was being accused of doing. Very often the guiltier we are, the more defensive we become. Or we can become very defensive if we are more concerned about our image than we are about pleasing God, or if we are very insecure and have a need to appear "perfect" in our own eyes and those of others. In so doing the only person I fool is me.

I've been called a few rather demeaning things on more than one occasion. My immediate response has been, "Yes, sometimes I am." On these occasions I had no need to get defensive because I didn't feel threatened or guilty. Even if I had been guilty of what I had been accused of doing, it would have been more constructive to admit my guilt and do all I could to put things right.

I think what today's Scripture is saying is that in all conflict situations it is much more constructive to find a point of agreement with your adversary as quickly as possible.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me when I am being accused or criticized, not to be defensive, but to find a point of agreement, and also to admit when I am in the wrong and do what I can to put things right. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."

1. Matthew 5:25.


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Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.