I feel the sheer size of their presence instantly as it crowds out honesty in a room. I see their massive shape block the loving view of others the creator instilled in us. I watch them as they quietly trample relationships with overwhelming weight, crushing any possibility of life. I see elephants. Elephants. They are big. Relatively quiet. Dangerous. God beautifully designed us for relationships. They are a direct measure of the grace and love growing in us. Our faith is to be cultivated in the soil of community. In other words, we are told to work with and sweat with others to grow our own faith. It’s going to get dirty, messy. Despite our holy design, we pretend all is well. Then, like double agents, we ready our weapons and prepare for war against another of God’s creation! Why is it that we resist this divine order? Is it our pride? Stubbornness? Identity issues? We isolate ourselves from any conflict or disagreement we see. Why do we pretend we don’t see elephants? James, the half brother of Jesus, (Imagine the elephants in that family!) reveals to us why we choose not to acknowledge these conflicts. He writes What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4.1) Desires. My commitment to myself. My identity. My ideas. My pride. Me. Yes, I can see the elephants but struggle with what is next. Some shout, “Elephant!” and cause a stampede in the relationship. Some see them, ignore them, then stealth into the shadows. Others will leave and complain to a new group of people about the elephant, often involving another person. People are not the elephants. Elephants are simply unresolved conflict. Irritation and disappointments. We create the elephants because we are broken. Elephants in the room can be the perfect opportunity to cultivate the garden of our soul and restore what was intended. To live closer to our design. James gives some clarity for when we see elephants. 7 So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. 8 Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other. When I submit myself to God and his design for me, I am led with grace to enter into the the presence of elephants with others. I can remove the weapons of my own survival and be honest. Call it out. Fight to connect, work through the issues and eliminate the space for elephants.