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You Scared Myself!  

I'm still not sure how it happened.  At one point, we were playing, laughing, and enjoying the antics that provoke little tykes to giggle (my specialty).  Then, rather abruptly,  a look of fright oozed all over three-year-old Ava's face.  Something had startled her, but I didn't know exactly what.  And her response was unforgettable.

“Hey, you scared myself!” She blurted accusingly. I couldn’t resist teasing her.  So I fired back, “You scared myself?”

“No!” She insisted.  “You scared MY-self!” (Emphasis on the “my”).  

“Oh,” I feigned understanding.  You scared MY-self.”

“No!” Ava insisted.  “You scared MY-self.”

Whatever the original fear trigger, it got lost in a flurry of flamboyant debate. Whether or not Ava could tell I was pulling her leg (as precocious as she is, she probably did), it's a conversation I'll always treasure.

These days, thanks to COVID-19, we're spending a lot of time together—alone.  Lots of time in small spaces that can lead to big misunderstandings.  Conflicts that might ordinarily be contained have a way of gaining exponential explosiveness.

Explosions are bad enough. But explosions in small spaces can be deadly. 

The unfortunate thing is that so many of these conflicts start small. Like my conversation with little Ava.

  • A slight misunderstanding.   
  • An unfortunate word choice.
  • A wrong emphasis.  


But as Christ-followers, we're called to be bomb diffusers.  Our orders are to "seek peace and pursue it" (Psalms 34:14). 

It looks like we'll be staying in place awhile longer. Isn't it time we learned to defuse and de-escalate conflict? To disconnect from the evil that leads to relational destruction?

The alternative is to live in a household of self-created land mines. To me, that is so frightening I would have to join with Ava in saying, “You scared myself!”

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

   --Psalms 37:8


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016