Summary: Attempting to sow conflict works on the basis of insecurity and the need to compete. But God in Christ is about reconciliation, forgiveness, acceptance.
No doubt we love our children and think they’re wonderful. But if you ever need proof of the perversity of human nature, just watch the children. If you ever doubt the Biblical idea that all sin and come short of the glory of God, just stop at the playground and watch a while. Children fight. Children abuse one another. Kids speak cruel words to each other. Mayor Williams spoke just this week about being teased when he was a child, and commented, “Children can be mean.” That’s right, they can. They bloody noses and bruise bodies and tear each other up on a regular basis.
But children are clever too. They are smart. And it isn’t long before they figure out that if you bloody somebody’s nose, he is going to bloody yours. It doesn’t take long for them to discover that if you call somebody a vicious name, she will find an even worse one to call you. Kids find out very fast that starting fights may not be all that much fun.
But there is something else that is fun. There is something else children do. And, frankly, we don’t forget it when we grow up. There is a little game we play.
Imagine the scene. Johnny and Jimmy are leaning up against the school wall, scoping out the girls. Exactly why, they don’t know, but somebody told them that’s what cool guys do –put on dark glasses, lean up against the wall, and scope out the girls. Johnny says to Jimmy, as Mary saunters along, “Get a load of that Mary. She’s growing fast. She’s taller than all the guys in our class. Hey, Jimmy, I guess you couldn’t even reach up far enough to give her a kiss!” Later that afternoon Jimmy and Mary are at the same library table, and so Jimmy says to Mary, “You know what Johnny said about you today? Johnny said you were a big tall freak and no guy in his right mind would ever want to kiss you.” Now Mary, being a girl, and therefore inherently smarter than the dumb jocks leaning up against the wall, stops and steams for a moment before she says anything. She lets it sink in, this sickening notion that these two guys are talking about her; and then with careful, measured words, words calculated to do the most damage, in a surgically precise way, Mary replies to Jimmy, “You can tell Johnny for me that I am not tall; I am statuesque. And that I will choose who gets to kiss me, thank you very much. Got that, idiot?!”
Jimmy is off like a streak of lightning, and finds Johnny. “Hey, Johnny. About Mary. She told me to tell you that the only reason you talk about how tall she is is that you are a puny runt who is never going to grow up. And that far as kissing is concerned, she’ll be glad for you to kiss her on the knee, because that’s as far up as your face is ever going to get.”
And then Johnny said … and Mary said … and Jimmy said to both of them … what’s going on here? What is the name of this game? The game is called, “Let’s You and Him Fight.” “Let’s You and Him Fight”, a game in which the idea is to get two people so upset with each other that they’ll slug it out, and all you have to do is lean back and watch it happen! “Let’s You and Him Fight” is a game where you can lead others who didn’t even know they had a disagreement to become lifelong bitter enemies! And you get out of it unscathed and untouched. Why, you can even occupy the moral high ground and, after you have done your dirty work of misrepresenting and telling half-truths and twisting things … after you have done all of that you can be so lofty, “Isn’t it a shame how these people treat each other? Did you ever see such awful behavior in all your life?”
“Let’s You and Him Fight.” A game we know well. A reporter says, “Mr. Vice-president, there’s a word out that Governor Bush has called you a crook. What you do think of him?” Let’s You and Him Fight. One of your co-workers sidles up to your desk and says, “I hate to tell you this, but do you know what the boss is saying about you? He told Bill who told Jane who told me that your work doesn’t measure up and he’s going to reprimand you. Oh, let me tell you, I’m on your side. It’s just not fair.” Do you recognize the game? Let’s You and Him Fight. By the way, you can count on it, when someone says, “I hate to tell you this”, the truth is he loves to tell you this! It gives him a chance to start a rousing round of “Let’s You and Him Fight.” It won’t be long before Mount St. Helens erupts, World War III is fought, and over here in the corner sits your informant, fat and sassy, enjoying every moment! Oh, “Let’s You and Him Fight” is a popular game!