I’ve been interested instead of learning how to help my children solve their problems when I’m not around. I’m learning this takes a lot more hands-on interaction than I want sometimes (particularly when I have company, or am at someone else’s house), but I think it will pay off later. Not too long ago I talked about how I really want to avoid the referee mentality where I merely issue judgments and consequences for interpersonal conflict. To be sure, sometimes referees are necessary, and it’s not in itself a bad thing, but I really want to help them solve their own problems biblically when possible. As an aside, I think this is one advantage of keeping my children interacting with other children in a more controlled environment (when I’m nearby) rather than sending my children to preschool “for the socialization.”
- David’s challenge is to treat others like he wants to be treated.
- Bethel’s challenge is actually asking for the behavior to stop.
If I correct David for treating Bethel unkindly, I’m rewarding Bethel for screaming/ crying to get him to stop. But if I address Bethel’s failure to ask David to stop, then David gets the idea that being unkind is okay, as long as you stop when the other person says so. I need wisdom, don’t I?! This reminds me of the sometimes confusing Proverb:
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. (Proverbs 26:4-5)
I think Solomon is giving us an example of how wisdomÂ works rather than giving cryptically opposing advice. He appears to imply that we need discernment to know who and when to correct. We need to be aware of the possible consequences of our response, and weigh them carefully before making a decision what to do. Guess I need to do the same thing. Perhaps I can address both wrongs when I intervene, perhaps I can alternate who gets the lesson. I’m going to pray right now for wisdom and discernment for today.