Takes Two to Tussle


If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves.
Romans 12:18-19a

Al Hoffman and Dick Manning wrote a song popularized by Pearl Bailey in 1952: “Takes Two to Tango.” That title, based on the dramatic Latin American tango dance, has become an idiom in our culture. Just as it’s impossible to tango alone, so it is impossible to do many things in life alone. Just as it takes two to tango, it also takes two to tussle.

When David was anointed king over Israel by the prophet Samuel, the first thing he did was honor his predecessor who had tried to kill him—King Saul. He called together the men who had collected Saul’s body after battle and given him an honorable burial: “You are blessed of the LORD, for you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him” (2 Samuel 2:5). David could easily have sought to avenge himself by punishing Saul’s followers. Instead, he sought to make peace and honor the Lord’s anointed despite the error of his (Saul’s) ways. Love keeps no record of wrongs, delights not in evil, and thinks the best (1 Corinthians 13:5-7).

All quarrels and bitterness can be ended when one person takes the first step. It takes two to tussle, but only one to reach out in love.

The noblest revenge is to forgive.
Thomas Fuller

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