I Was Just Thinking About - - -
Did you ever purchase a tool and then wonder how it could be used? Several years ago, a store had a special price on Grinders for the shop. It was one of those specials that would cause one regret if it was not purchased immediately. I purchased it and brought it to my shop area. My wife asked me the practical and proverbial questions: “Did you really need that now? What do you plan to do with it?” Thinking rather quickly for a response, I replied: “Well, I can sharpen your hedge shears for you!” The mistakes in that response was my use of “your” and “for you.” My second response was not an improvement over the first. I stated: “I can grind the axe for splitting some wood.” Since I was going quickly from bad to worse, I thought that if I could change the subject I might get over the hurdle of explanation. I guess I should add (since confession is supposed to be good for the soul) that procrastination delayed my getting around to “sharpen your hedge shears” and ironically, the “special priced” Grinder stopped running and there was a “no-return” policy on the sale item. I still have the non-functioning Grinder under my Work Bench and it allows me moments of contemplation of my intended purpose for it.
There is an interesting definition in the Urban Dictionary for one having an “ax to grind.” Their take on it is twofold: (1) “To have a grievance with someone, especially where one feels the need to seek damaging retribution and (2) The phrase probably originates from the act of sharpening an axe with a grinding wheel, with the intent (in this definition) to get revenge on someone by maiming or killing them.” The Free Dictionary lists two possible (less severe) idioms for the phrase, “an axe to grind”: (1) “to have a selfish reason for saying or doing something”; and (2) “to have a strong opinion about something that influences your actions.” I would suspect that at some point in life, to one degree or another, we have all exhibited moments when we displayed that we had “an axe to grind” with someone or about something. If, or more likely when those times occur, what is the cause and what is the proper response and reaction. In a day of extensive litigation and the growing number of lawyers, people resort to lawsuits as a means of retribution and/or resolve. One need only observe the various Judge and Court Room programs on television to draw a conclusion that many grievances that are being litigated are frivolous and baseless. It may have “soap opera” qualities for entertainment but it demonstrates that not every grievance with another person needs to result in courtroom drama.
It is sad to observe that within the visible Church and among professing Christians, there are occasions when the “axe to grind” begins to dominate relationships and fellowship. What guidelines should be prominent in the visible Church and among professing Christians? Some basic considerations are: (1) Ephesians 4:29-32, “Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” (2) Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry, yet do not sin. Do not let the sun set upon your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” And (3) I Corinthians 6:1-7, “If any of you has a grievance against another, how dare he go to law before the unrighteous instead of before the saints! Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! So if you need to settle everyday matters, do you appoint as judges those of no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Is there really no one among you wise enough to arbitrate between his brothers? Instead, one brother goes to law against another, and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you are thoroughly defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” Let your “axe grinder” become inoperable and place it in some obscure place. Begin to apply and live by Biblical Principles for all of your thoughts, words and deeds. Consider these things with me.