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During World War II, Douglas MacArthur mapped a strategy called “island hopping” to win the war in the Pacific theatre. To achieve the ultimate objective of defeating Japan, MacArthur decided to only attack islands that would benefit the ultimate objective of victory. But the real advantage of skipping an attack on some islands was that they were heavily fortified. Instead of attacking Japanese strongholds MacArthur bypassed them, saving lives on both sides. Sometimes the best strategy for dealing with those ready to fight might be not to fight at all.
A person might be wise by the battles he doesn’t fight. Maybe you have been in situations like I have where the person with whom I have a disagreement is very good with words. The wisest way for me to respond to that individual is not with more words. Piling my words on top of their words will just continue the fight. Perhaps the better way to counter the conflict would be to do something nice. Proverbs 25 says that kindness heaps “burning coals” on my adversary, meaning, he is ashamed that his attacks have been countered with unexpected goodness.
Or maybe you have been in a situation, like me, where a foolish person has done something that has hurt you. Proverbs 29 says that a wise person knows it is pointless to argue with a fool. The fool’s only response to my words is rage and ridicule. Proverbs 23 says I should not even speak wisdom within earshot of a fool, who will only despise the “good sense” of my words.
As we anticipate Veterans Day, honoring American soldiers for their service to our country, it might be wise to remember MacArthur’s principle: sometimes the best strategy is finding a way to win without fighting every battle. For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally seeking truth, but not needing to always say it. [First published at MarkEckel.com]Published in