Operating in the “opposite spirit” —

by Rod Smith

Opposite spirit: it's more difficlut than it sounds....

Youth With a Mission’s founders, Loren and Darleen Cunningham, are two of my heroes.

Pioneering what has, in 50 years, become a vast army of people serving God and others, “YWAM” (Durban has a base, too) has been an agent of grace and change in remarkable ways all over the world.

The Cunninghams speak often of “the opposite spirit”, a concept I find deeply challenging.

Here’s a complex concept in a nutshell: If someone wants to fight (argue, be antagonistic) identify and offer the opposite (peace, grace, cooperation). If someone is arrogant or pushy, offer praise and acceptance. Resist the natural urge to fight the fighter or bring someone down a peg or two.

I’ve seen Loren do this. I’ve seen him learn from those who would do better to listen and learn from him. I’ve seen him stare down an angry person, not with force or power, but with love and acceptance. I have seen him repeatedly give, when he himself is in need.

My inner-urge to fight fire with fire is strong, but the likes or Loren, and many people whom I have met in YWAM, have shown me that it is more productive and helpful to “go counter”, to offer kindness, when others are bent on offering its antithesis.

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