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There are few things in life more draining than strife.

When there is strife, it seems like everything is set on edge, doesn’t it? And it can quickly drain the joy right out of life.

Perhaps you’re dealing with some strife right now. Maybe it’s in your marriage… or with your boss or a coworker… or with a neighbor… or maybe you and your teenager are at odds.

Whatever it might be, what I can tell you is this: God wants peace in your house. God wants you to live a life free from strife and dissension. He wants peace.

Genesis 21:25-31 tells us the story of a rift between Abraham and Abimelech… and how they came to a place of peace. Let’s look at the passage…

Then Abraham rebuked Abimelech because of a well of water which Abimelech’s servants had seized. And Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor had I heard of it until today.” So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.

Then Abimelech asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves?”

And he said, “You will take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, that they may be my witness that I have dug this well.” Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because the two of them swore an oath there.

Abraham was pretty upset that Abimelech’s servants had seized his well… a vital water supply for Abraham and his people. But notice what he does when he realizes that Abimelech knew nothing about it.

He gives Abimelech room to back up.

Some of your assumptions about people are wrong. You may imagine some malicious intent that may not be there at all. In fact, some people don’t have a clue they’ve wronged you, but you’ve already pegged them as an enemy.

You may think they’ve disrespected you, stepped on your authority, or initiated some conspiracy against you. But if you rush in with guns blazing and don’t give them room to back up and explain, you’re going to have more strife than you know what to do with. And this strife, more than likely, could have been utterly avoided.

The first principle of living a life of peace is to always give people room to back up and explain themselves. If you do, you’ll avoid many unnecessary conflicts and steer clear of strife. Make the choice today to live a life of peace!

Have you been wronged, hurt, or treated unfairly? Have you tried to help someone grow or understand the error of their ways only to receive hostility and a cold shoulder in return? Learn to soften and resolve even your most bitter conflicts when you watch Bayless’ message, “Gaining a Brother without Losing Yourself,” today.

Do you find yourself lost, without direction or purpose?

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