The greedy stir up conflict (v. 25, NIV). What am I greedy for when I “stir up conflict” with my father over politics? I tell myself I’m forging a connection by convincing him to see the world the way I do. If that were really my goal, I’d have to admit that it doesn’t work. Perhaps, that’s not really what I’m after. Maybe I’m using him as a safe place to vent my anger, that nasty by-product of fear.
What does this have to do with greed? We don’t just hunger for money, or power, or more cake—we can be greedy for attention and validation, too. One antonym to “greed” is “generosity.” So, if the greedy stir up conflict, perhaps the generous seek to heal.
A generous, rather than greedy approach to my father might be to work harder to connect the threads of our shared perspective. Lately, I’ve been telling my three-year-old son stories about “Sammy the Ghost” and “Maggie the Witch,” two characters my father invented when I was little. On my generous days, I send him videos of my son talking about these characters. On greedier ones, I call railing about the latest news headline and asking him to share my anger, which he never does. You can guess which action brings us closer.
I’m not likely to ever stop believing that my worldview is the right one. But it’s possible that we are trusting in ourselves a little too much in this time of division, putting too much stock in our own lived experience, rather than understanding that people experience the world in millions of different ways. Remembering that the people who disagree with us may do so because of something real and different in their lives is one way to walk in wisdom (v. 26). Reading today’s passage, I imagined Jesus walking into a clash between protesters and counter-protestors and smothering both sides with love.
When you stir up conflict, what are you greedy for?
God, teach me to open my eyes, walk in wisdom, and put my trust in you instead of hungering after foolish alternatives. Amen.