Saturday, October 20, 2012

Christians in Conflict

TX, I am praying for you and whatever you are going through.

A year ago today an estranged family member came to our home. What followed afterwards was a very disappointing and heartbreaking time for our immediate family. When you have imperfect people trying to relate in an imperfect world conflict will happen. I hope some of the lessons we've drawn up through the well of painful experience will bless you as you deal with conflict in your own life.

In conflicts it's important to remember it's not a battle between each other. It's a spiritual battle against our flesh and a greater enemy and is one of the hardest, but greatest opportunities we have to example Christ. It's very easy to be Christ-like when things are going well, but when we have trouble, people sit up and take notice. It is then we make a choice to example Christ or not.

Conflict can bring you tremendous spiritual growth. God will deal with the offender in His own time, but your job is to focus on what He is doing in you. Seize those opportunities for growth and make the most of them! 

 "Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive ... And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger." -C.S. Lewis

It's so much harder to win that fierce flesh against spirit wrestling match when the Christians who have hurt you are family. If we join forces with that goal first and foremost, we can accomplish incredible things in His name. We can only do that by showing forgiveness to and loving each other. 
Our goal together as Christians should be to shame satan and glorify God. "forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

While sometimes it is right to part ways peacefully, God wants His children united with "one mind." When Christians keep the door open, it doesn't mean the others will walk through it. He will bless the heart that is willing to obey though.

We still pray for reconciliation because we know that is what God wants. Those who know the entire story openly question our sanity. There's a reason why we are willing to forget the hurt, forgive, and move forward in Christ's love. Clint and I don't want fault for failed relationships at our feet. He called us into the ministry of reconciliation when He reconciled us to Him. We want to glorify our Father and show people the good He has to offer.  "...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

 Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. -C.S. Lewis

"Follow your heart," is a lie. The Bible calls the heart "wicked" and "deceitful." Our feelings are fickle and that makes them unreliable guides. Growth takes us out of our comfort zones, and we naturally resist that. We can't always feel ourselves into obedience, but we can be obedient to God's Word, and let Him lead us into a new way of feeling. Ask yourself what God commands vs what your heart tells you. Then decide whom you will serve.

When we get to Heaven, Clint and I don't want to hear "If you would have tried just a little harder, you would have exampled Christ so clearly that many more would have come to know Me." We want to make sure we do all we can to reflect God's love. There is too much at stake if we fail to do that. 

I Peter 4:17-18 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”