Strife is defined as a bitter and sometimes violent conflict or dissension; it is an act of contention: fight or struggle. A synonym of strife is discord. Often, people make the mistake of diagnosing strife as anger. Anger can lead to strife and strife can lead to anger; however, they are not the same. Proverbs 29:22 says that an angry man stirs up strife. The Bible clearly makes a distinction between the two. So, the angry man has an Antagonistic Negative Guilt-laying Emotional Reaction (ANGER) to something thereby injecting a Stifling Tangible Recurring Influence that Frustrates Emotions (STRIFE).
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.—Proverbs 15:18
Strife is stifling because it creates an immediate barrier between the parties involved; nothing positive is flowing through and neither side is able to hear the other. Obviously it is tangible because it can be felt and recurring because it keeps on coming. Strife negatively influences your decision making and frustrates your emotions. Recall a situation in which you are currently dealing or have dealt with strife and you will find that the acronym is an accurate portrayal.
If you have been married for any length of time, honeymooners included, you have had opportunities to get into strife. I used marriage, but this applies to all interpersonal relationships. The Blessing of the Lord (Genesis 12:2-3; Deuteronomy 28:1-14) requires us to live strife-free lives. Strife can limit or even bring to a standstill the flow of the Blessing.
And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle….—Genesis 13:7
Here we see an example of strife infiltrating what had been a prosperous business venture for Lot. Originally Abram wasn’t supposed to bring any family members along with him (Genesis 12:2). But since Lot was with his uncle Abram, he prospered. If you study this passage in Genesis 13, you will notice that it is a turning point for both Abram and Lot. Abram took the high road and allowed Lot to choose which way he wanted to go.
And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. —Genesis 13:8-9
Abram employed a key principle here to avoid and eradicate strife. He immediately found the source and severed the relationship. Thus, he continued to walk in the Blessing and Lot didn’t. When we find ourselves in this situation, we should go out of our way to avoid strife. I understand that there may be longtime friendships, business relationships or even relatives involved. Apply Romans 8:28 to the situation, and make the tough call required to walk in the Blessing.
“But Shontta, I’m in strife with my spouse and children,” you might say. “Am I to sever those relationships?” If there are no threats to your life or physical safety, you should seek out the source strife, expose it and work through it. Otherwise, seek professional help immediately. Once again, I’d like to show you how these blessing blockers affect your physical body.
Marital conflict can boost proinflammatory cytokines in the bloodstream and slow wound healing. These results add to the growing evidence that marital strife can impair both mental and physical health. While many studies have demonstrated the benefits of marriage in terms of promoting physical and mental health, what happens to couples who engage in verbal spats and power plays for years, maybe decades? One study, for example, found that unhappily married subjects were 25 times more likely to experience a major depressive disorder than were happily married ones. Another found that among women with coronary heart disease, marital stress worsened their prognosis threefold. And now a new study, published in the December 2005 Archives of General Psychiatry, has found that marital bickering can raise, in the bloodstream, levels of proinflammatory cytokines—that is, the kind of cytokines that sabotages healing instead of promoting it. *
STRIFE is tangible and it is obvious here that it penetrates and negatively works against your mind and your physical body. Don’t lose your life (John 10:10). Confront STRIFE with the Word and, if necessary, professional help. Keep the Blessing flowing. I am totally out of space. I trust you were enlightened and are now hungry to learn more on this topic.
Be blessed friends, and have the perfect day everyday!
*Marital Strife May Keep Wounds from Healing by Joan Arehart-Treichel http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/41/3/22