Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Friction


fric·tion n.
  1. The rubbing of one object or surface against another.
  2. Conflict, as between persons having dissimilar ideas or interests; clash.
  3. Physics. A force that resists the relative motion or tendency to such motion of two bodies in contact.
Friction is one of those morally neutral things that drive us crazy. Friction is good, as in iron sharpening iron. It's bad when it's ball bearings screeching to a halt. We like it when it helps our tires grip the road surface, we don't when it creates static electricity and shocks us when we open the door.

Friction is everywhere. It is why the jet stream is faster than surface winds. It is why the center of a river channel generally flows faster than the area near the edges. Friction is what slows our snow sleds on the hills, unless we pull a Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation and use some super lubricant to reduce friction.

Friction also exists in our lives in less abstract ways. Friction occurs when you have competing ideas and visions. The two sides may not agree on a particular approach to a subject, but one will carry the day. How that process is handled is extraordinarly important.

If there is no lubricant between the two sides, things can heat up quickly. Just forget to add oil to your engine once to get an idea of what can happen. Heat builds up to a failure point. In relationships the failure point can be words spoken in anger, rash decisions, or a decision to go negative and backbite and gossip about the other person.

Properly managed friction can produce a relationship where the two sides pull together and work for the common good and purpose. In a machine, liberal application of a lubricant such as oil usually does the trick. With people, oil is much less effective.

The lubricants of choice would be love, grace and humilty. Putting those together can make a number of things go much more smoothly. Remembering that the other person is a child of God is always helpful. If the question comes down to purely personal choice, e.g there is no clear right and wrong, then humility needs to be applied. And grace covers a number of bumps along the way.

I say this knowing that I have not always done this. But God continues to work on me to mold me into something useful to him. A pastor once called me "hard-headed and tender-hearted." I took it as a compliment, but realized that the hard-headed needs to be tempered with humility. And God is really good at humbling people.

I know.

1 comment:

john rister said...

Very well said however you are preaching this on Sunday and maybe you might want to save post until after you preach it. Just a thought.