Learning from the Levee

by Pastor Dan

We are continuing the series of articles from the book of Proverbs in the Bible.  They are very practical for our life today even though they were written many years ago.
I remember in 2005 sensing the call to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Just days after the hurricane, I found myself on a team with others trying to help with the clean-up efforts there.  This went on for months as I tried to do what I could.  One trip into New Orleans, I remember seeing one of the breaches in the levee that had flooded part of the city.  What devastation, what tragedy, what destruction one break can cause.  We look at things like this in the natural and can become so overwhelmed.  Standing there, I began thinking:  How is the little I am trying to do even helping at all?  To be honest, sadly, I even wondered if this was just too big of a task and thought maybe we should just go home and try to be happy.  
A few weeks after that, I was attempting to suppress those feelings, and it occurred to me that if I sense these things in the natural world, what happens to the unseen?  When a person hurts someone with their words and actions, what devastation does that cause on the inside of a person that’s not always so easily visible on the outside?

Listen to what Proverbs 17:14 says, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.”  The word “abandon” leaps out at me.  It means face or in the face of.  It describes a situation where, while still in the presence of the person that upset or hurt you, you should make a choice to end the quarrel before it even starts.  
How can I learn how to abandon the quarrel?  I’m glad you asked!  Do you remember that one of the reasons Katrina was such a disaster was because there was a poor inspection process with the levees?  How often do we inspect our heart and mind and their reaction to things that happen in our lives?  First, we need to take the time to search out these reactions to understand.

Second, we need to repair the damage in our heart and mind often.  Proverbs 2:11 says “Discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you.  

Third, we need to love...a lot!  Find safe and trustworthy people, build relationships with them, and be vulnerable in their presence.  
Fourth, firm up that foundation.  Continue to work on relationships.  The best levee is one that has a strong foundation.  Knowing Jesus Christ and building relationships with others builds strong levees!  Forgiveness is a key tool to use in the building process.

Pastor Dan