"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, December 7, 2012

* DEAL OR NO DEAL - Part 2

Matthew 18:15 (NIV 1984)  "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. "  

It wasn't long ago when God convicted me in the area of gossip and conflict resolution.  I found myself dialing a phone number so I could vent whenever an issue occurred with someone. God gently nudged me not to do this anymore.  

Instead, God wanted me to come to Him. Talk to my Comforter. Tell Him of my ache.  So, I began to earnestly pray each time I was injured in a situation.  I did this faithfully.  I would pray and pray and even cry out at the injustice and heartache I was experiencing.  I would not stop praying until His peace was present in my heart.  

Although sometimes I fail, I do strive to continue this habit of calling out to God before calling my girlfriend.  When I do this the Holy Spirit tends to soften the fleshly daggers of spite that wish to lash out and replaces them with the Spirit's tenderness and peace.  When His peace covers me I no longer feel the need to talk about the issue with my girlfriend at all.  His peace also gives me the strength to confront issues and handle them biblically.

Last week we discussed gossip and how it can stem from unsettled issues or conflicts with another person.  Instead of talking about our issue with someone else, we need to heed the instructions and principle of Matthew 18:15 and go directly to the person involved in hopes of reconciliation.  "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. "

Many people do not like conflict and do not want to deal with confrontation.  Dealing with others is hard.  People can be mean and unjustified in their actions.  

Some people shun resolution because they are not ready to forgive.  Others avoid conflict because they fear confrontation.  Some may want to minimize the offense and others are possibly afraid to admit they might be the one who is wrong and don't want to confess it.  

Conflict is inevitable, but conciliation is a choice. 

Regardless of our aversion to deal with issues, we can be just as wrong by not handling them biblically.  A spiritually mature person will humble themselves and acknowledge when they are wrong.  They will seek healing and forgiveness when they offend someone.

A girlfriend came to me in college to confront me about something I had done that bothered her. I remember getting defensive and almost immediately started justifying my actions.  I don't like to be wrong and it hurt me to hear her tell me these things.  

Truth is, she was right, I was wrong.  She handled it biblically and I was too prideful to admit my fault.  After struggling to humble myself and acknowledge I hurt her, I eventually owned up my offense and reconciled the situation.

Here are a few tips I have humbly learned when we are the one who is confronted by another:
  1. Receive the correction, (meaning listen and don't interrupt).
  2. Do not try to justify your actions.
  3. Accept responsibility for your part.
  4. Apologize, (while making eye contact).
  5. Seek Forgiveness.
When we practice the principles of Matthew 18 by going to our brother or sister to work out a situation, conflict resolution is handled the correct way.  When we do this the encounter becomes:

  • A defeat to the enemy.
  • An opportunity for spiritual growth and maturity.
  • Healing in the body of Christ.  
Where there are people there will be conflict.  Co-workers, family, friends, our spouse, or my personal favorite; our children, all provide the ingredients for explosions to occur.  But, how we clean up the debris is a measure of our spiritual maturity.  

Deal or no deal?  Will you deal with conflict biblically?  May we all strive to "deal" God's way.

Heart Work:
Ask the Lord to show you your weaknesses when it comes to conflict resolution.  

Is there someone you need to make things right with?  Have you hurt another person without seeking their forgiveness?

Heart Exam:

If your tendency is to avoid conflict, ask the Lord to give you the strength to live out Matthew 18. 

Is pride keeping you from working out a situation with another?  Fear?  If so, ask God to humble you and give you the courage to do what is right. 

Ask the Lord to remind you to go to Him when you are hurt and to talk to Him about your circumstance first.

Heart Changing Word:

James 1:26 (NIV) "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."

Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."

Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Proverbs 15:4a "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life."

Proverbs 21:23 "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."

Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen.  Edited 2012.  All rights reserved.