Resolving Conflicts

1 Corinthians 6:3   (NLT)   Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life.

As much as possible, I try to avoid conflict. God’s Word tells us to keep the peace if it’s at all possible and as much as it depends on us. There’s not a lot there that can threaten 1 Corinthians 6.3 - Resolving Conflictspeace more quickly than trying to correct a person. But God’s Word also tells us to correct and rebuke.

At least in my own personal experience, it’s harder to correct people who are influential, strongly opinionated, successful, achievers, those who are considered high status in society. The task of speaking with them to discuss a possible wrong they do can be very challenging and highly threatening to the peace we work so hard for and work so hard to keep. It can be daunting. And there may be times when we let things just slide; we just brush things off when the best action is to call wrongdoers on their offenses.

Often, we are accused of judging. And I agree; we ought to not be judgmental people. But the wisest king who’s ever lived taught that open rebuke is better than secret love. There is a place for open, loving rebuke.

No one should intimidate us to inaction. It doesn’t matter how famous, rich, powerful, influential the person is. If they need to be told of their wrongs, they need to be told. We will be judging angels, we’re certainly and sufficiently equipped by our loving God to effectively handle disputes and conflicts between others, even if we’re the ones directly involved.

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Don’t Be Mad

Psalms 37:8   (NLT)   Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.

Not all anger is sinful, but as much as possible we should avoid being angry. When we get angry, it is very easy to lose control. Our anger could quickly, easily, and dangerously escalate to hatred and rage. That is not good for us. We can do things that are very Psalm 37.8 - Don't be Madharmful—not only to us, but more so to others. When we act from deep anger we often don’t think rationally. We act out of extreme emotions. Most of the time, we end up doing things we later regret, but often, it is too late; the damage is done.

There are gazillions of reasons for getting mad. Many times also, we seem to think anger is more effective in getting people’s attention. We feel they take us more seriously when we’re angry, but experience tells us otherwise. Someone very close to me have often stated that she does not respond positively to angry corrections or instructions, in fact, she freezes, and her mind shuts down. Of course, it is difficult for me to understand this, probably because there are times I react positively to anger. There have been many occasions when I did the right thing because I did not want people I love to get disappointed and angry with me. I understand: not everyone is the same. I can only theorize, but it seems like there are people who have a hard time understanding and reacting favorably when being scolded out of anger. We just end up feeling extremely bad; anger does that. Venting out our anger may not necessarily be always a good thing to do; it can be counter-productive.

Praise God; He is not the same as us; He is very patient with us. Just imagine if He gets angry with us as quickly as we do with others. If God finds patience and peace beneficial, it does us well to imitate Him; there is wisdom in it. There will be very disappointing people; there will be very irritating actions; there will be many situations when anger is justified. But as much as it all depends on us, it’s best not to get angry. This does not mean lack of correction, or instruction, or discipline. We still correct, but we do so in a calm, controlled, peaceful, and loving manner. It’s much better that way. We save ourselves from headache, heartache, and high blood pressure, and from big potential of sinning against our immensely patient God and Father—that’s a big difference.

Be Happy for Them

Mark 14:6   (KJV)   6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

Mark 14.6 - Be Happy for ThemJesus corrected the people who were trying to trouble or criticize the woman who broke the alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it on His head. For others, there could have been a much better use for that perfume; for Jesus, what she did was commendable.

Our sincere expressions of devotion to our precious Lord will not be understood by others. That’s very much expected from the world; majority of them won’t understand our willingness to be totally broken and fully spilled out for God. The surprise comes when the misunderstanding comes from fellow believers. Worst is when they don’t only comprehend our actions, but they criticize us—especially when they do so in public, where the lost are watching.

It’s a joy for us learning from others. We welcome suggestions and differing opinions. It’s wisdom to have multitude of counselors. We can learn even from criticisms—if we can call it as such—especially the constructive, corrective, non-judgmental, and non-condemnatory kind—gentle words birthed out of love. We understand and humbly admit we’re far from perfection. We will make mistakes; we will miss blind spots. We’re grateful when others see what we fail to see.

On the other hand, sad to point out, there are self-righteous/know-it-all people—at least that’s how they esteem themselves. Instead of being irritated, annoyed, and angry with them, we pray for them. We pray for us as well. As people of grace, we pray that we will be gracious towards everyone—especially our families—in this context, our spiritual families. Obviously, we have different expressions of devotion. We may feel like there are better ways, but they may have reasons we’re not privy to. What they do may be better than our preference. And that’s our position regarding our differences: they may know something we don’t. With that, we can just be happy for their love of our Savior.

Love, Rebuke, Chastening

Revelation 3:19   (KJV)   19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

God’s love neither contradicts nor eliminates rebuke and chastening; in fact, it’s His love that necessitates them. We don’t hate or reject those loving actions of our Father, as unpleasant as they may be while we’re in them. Instead, we welcome them with open Revelation 3.19 - Love, Rebuke, Chasteninghands, heart, and mind. And we take the necessary actions to correct whatever needs correction.

We’re not only accepting of God’s rebuke and discipline; we’re humbly grateful and appreciative of them. We don’t just tolerate them; we celebrate them. And we don’t drag our feet forcing ourselves to respond and to change; we’re zealous of growing in the likeness of our precious Lord Jesus. We willingly and quickly turn away from thoughts, actions, and choices He forbids. We understand: lack of desire and passion to leave ways that break our Fathers’ heart needs dumping in itself.

Hmmm; let’s see; we repent from Lukewarnness; we want to be hot—on fire for God—passionately loving and serving Him. No, it’s not cool to be “spat out” by Dad; that’s horrible. We repent from materialism, from close-mindedness, from spiritual ineptitude; we pursue Him, eternal and imperishable treasures, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. We repent from evil, unrighteousness, and ungodliness. We choose the good, right, and godly.

Slander Not

Psalm 101:5   (KJV)   Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

Slander is abhorrent; it ought to be. We don’t involve ourselves in badmouthing and backbiting our neighbors. When people do, we cut them off right away. We don’t allow Psalm 101.5 - Slander Notourselves to become trash heaps; no, we stop it right away. It may be offensive to silence trash-talkers; it may be a humbling or humiliating experience for them, but that may even be something good for them to experience.

Those who spew out negative words about others operate in pride that stems directly from proud hearts. They feel like they’re above and others are below. That they’re better than others may not necessarily be true; they just esteem themselves as such.

We can justify times when there’s a need to speak about the wrongs and errors of others, but when we can make the necessary points without exposing the people, that’s what we do. It’s only when it’s absolutely needed that we resort to exposing the person. But that’s our last recourse. When we know of their sin, instead of slandering them to people behind their backs, we approach them directly and show their faults. We do this lovingly, humbly, gently, boldly, and restoratively.

Open for Correction

Psalm 141:5   (KJV)   Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

A wise person is open for correction. It doesn’t matter if the rebuke hurts; it’s humbly and gratefully welcomed. They see that the advantages of painful corrections far outweigh the hurts brought by them. They’re given to heal and not to destroy.

Corrections in life are necessary. But only works great on people who are wise and humble – people who aren’t hurt to accept their imperfection. Corrections are good for us. But we’re often left to ourselves living out our dangerous mistakes because we’re not willing to be shown the errors of our ways. In wanting to keep the peace, people would rather avoid pointing out our flaws. We need to give people the assurance, not just the impression, that it’s okay for them to tell us if we’re doing something wrong. We ought to be happy about it and thankful for people who love us for who we are, but who love us enough to save us from dangerous and destructive factors in our lives.

Lies will destroy us. Errors will destroy us. Let us accept corrections like skilled-maneuverings of a specialist physician to rid us of our deadly sicknesses although it may necessitate cutting us open first. Let us treat them as soothing balms for our sin-sick souls.

Dear God of Truth, You’re our pursuit. We want truth, even if they are ugly truths about us that we need to surrender to You. Please give us the spirit of graciousness and gratefulness towards other people who love us enough to boldly yet gently show us the errors of our ways – to restore us to the right path. Please help us to be intrepid enough not to be a passive contributor to other people’s curses – by also lovingly speaking up when we see others treading the wrong path – in Jesus’ Name, amen.