Advice from Ben Franklin…

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote that is attributed to Benjamin Franklin – “Those who in quarrels interpose, must often wipe a bloody nose.” 

Franklin was probably referring to those who stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong, or to those who jump into arguments seeking to be peacemakers. It often happens that the anger that was being vented between the arguing parties becomes refocused onto the peacemaker. We sometimes see on the nightly news that some would-be peacemaker in a street argument ends up being shot or injured by one of the parties to the argument.

While being a peacemaker is sometimes dangerous or difficult, it is a role to which we have been called. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Perhaps suffering the occasional bloody nose is the price that one must pay to be a peacemaker. Peacemakers are the “first responders” in life’s brouhaha’s . Defusing a disagreement that could get out of hand requires that one jump in, separate the parties and stop the progression of the situation. Once the escalation of emotions is halted; the peacemaker can determine a course of action by listening to the two sides. Often it is a misunderstanding of what has been said or the words that were used. Sometimes just helping one or both parties understand what it is that they are disagreeing upon is enough to calm things down. Sometimes not.

In some cases, the best that the peacemaker can achieve is détente, a pause that one hopes will lead to a more permanent understanding. Even that may be looked at as a win, since the situation was calmed to the point where it didn’t boil over into physical conflict. Perhaps  the bloody nose that the peacemaker might have suffered that provided the outlet for the anger that was driving the situation.

Whatever the situation, it is better to act, to interpose as Franklin put it; than to sit by and do nothing, even if there is an element of danger involved in acting. Why? Because you know, it is right to do so.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17 )

And, what if you don’t act? Maybe Franklin would have put it this way –

Those who sit by and do not act, most often regret it after the fact.

Do the right thing! Be a peacemaker. Your nose will heal and you will be better for having acted.

Peace be with you.

One Response to Advice from Ben Franklin…

  1. John Freed says:

    I feel guilty for being an observer on the sidelines (too often). It’s not that I fear a bloody nose. I like to keep my options open to speak (for the the good) to both sides and be a conciliator.

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