Community conflict

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 6, Verses 16-19, New International Version)

Pretty amazing! From God’s perspective, stirring up conflict in the community is on a par with shedding innocent blood. Although I’ve read these verses hundreds, maybe thousands of times, today they speak to me with a new emphasis. They serve me with a double-edged warning. Stay away form such folks, and even more importatly, don’t be one! The community where you live is important to God! Build it up. Don’t spoil it. Who wants to be detestable to God? Not I. Praise God for his Living Word, for His Rhema Word that jumps off the page and into my life.

So how do you build up your community? There are wealthy philanthropists who fund libraries, parks, hospitals, and nurseries. Praise God for these folks. Then, there are guys like me. I like to walk and pray early in the morning. I take one or two small plastic bags with me as I head out to the park near our home. I use the bags to pick up trash and dog poop. The park is next to an elementary school. During the week, lots of parents and kids walk through the park on their way to and from school. On the weekends the park is full of families, little league soccer teams, picnics, etc. I want the kids to see a clean park. I want them to learn to respect nature and the public commons from a very early edge. So I pick up trash and dog poop. It makes me friends.

If you can, build a park for the community. If you can’t offer such a gift, just help keep the park or the sidewalk or the bus stop clean. It builds your community probably more than you can know.