Saturday, February 19, 2011


"Do you yield, sir?"

Don't ask me what movie this line is from, but it probably has something to do with knights and jousting. When one knight has the other in a threatening position, the threatened knight can either choose to "yield" (cry uncle, admit defeat) or be run through.

Crying uncle ... now there's an interesting phrase. If you want to see several explanations of where this phrase may have come from, try here. Otherwise, trust me when I say it's a more modern version of yielding under the threat of injury.

When I was in driver's ed (or was it defensive driving?) I remember learning that the "right of way" is something that is given, never taken. This understanding of yielding is really what I have in mind today ... something that we choose to do, but not out of fear for our lives.

The rehab ladies I work with have taught me all kinds of wonderful slogans and phrases that are related to recovery, like two of my favorites -- "Spot it, got it" and "Don't keep going to the hardware store for a loaf of bread." A third goes like this: "Do you want to be right, or do you want to have serenity?" This phrase also comes pretty close to the idea of yielding I have in mind. Again, it is something we choose.

I admit that I gravitate toward contention; it is familiar to me. Often, I raise my voice in a discussion without even realizing that I am doing it. The other morning, someone even said to me, "Don't shake your head at me." Raising your voice and shaking your head are not good illustrations of yielding; shutting up and keeping your head still are.

The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, "You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3). Even as much as I gravitate toward quarreling, I learned a long time ago the importance of yielding; of making the decision that I wanted things to be right between me and another person; and understanding that in order to bring this "rightness" about, I would have to choose to yield.

Yielding is not being a doormat. Neither is is being weak. Yielding is an act of love -- choosing to see someone in the best possible light and deciding that being right is not as important as having serenity in a relationship.

Of course, no one can force this type of yielding. No one can hold a sword above my head and cry out, "Will you yield, Tammy? Will you get along?" (Anyone whose parents tried to force this with a sibling knows I am speaking the truth.) No, yielding is akin to unconditional love; and anything related to unconditional love is clearly a behavior modeled for us by Jesus.

Yielding ... in love and humility. It's something worth pursuing....

No comments: