“If you are in conflict with more than one person, it’s likely you are the problem.”
Isn’t it mysterious that through much of this communal life, this wisdom is obvious to everyone but us? Indeed, if I am at odds with more than one person at any given time, the most common denominator in the relational strain is probably me!
This is something to consider during Lent.
If I am chronically annoyed or hurt by particular friends or co-workers, the roots of the bad tasting fruit can be found inside me. When I am routinely offended by certain people, the problem is, in major part, my own. If there is conflict or chaos in my personal relationships, the obvious common thread is, well, me.
The beautiful thing about arriving at this place – this humble place – is that we can always change. We can loosen our grip on favorite grudges, and forgive sins. We can look for offense less, and give the benefit of the doubt more. Peacemakers are indeed blessed: they sow righteousness, and they will be known as the daughters and sons of God.
Here are eight questions to consider if you want the fruit of your spirit to include greater peace and forbearance:
#1. Where is there discord (confusion, tension, trouble) in your life?
For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. “I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I will not forsake them.”
#2. In what relationships are you withholding love?
For God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
#3. Who really irritates you? What personality type really gets under your skin?
Be kind to one another, then. Be tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
#4. Who do you wish would just disappear from your life for a while?
But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you. Whatever measuring cup you use to portion out grace with others, will be the same size measuring cup used with you.
#5. What person, or people, most offend you? Why?
The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
#6. The words of what person(s) cause you to lose sleep?
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. He is a shield for those who trust him.
#7. What relationship do you doubt that God can restore?
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing, do you not see it?
#8. How can you be an instrument of God’s type of peace, today?
Behold, he is making all things new. For he came to bring good news to the poor; to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim liberty to the captives.
#9. Where do you need to take peace, pursue forgiveness?
Wherever God’s spirit goes, real life happens. Wherever God’s people go, wrongs are righted, forgiveness is granted, and peace is made. For I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Peace to you (and joy) this week.
11 responses to I Think You Might Have A Problem
Thank you for your uplifting posts!
I’m certain God used you today to speak to my heart and calm my tongue. Oh my goodness!! Thank you.
I love everything except the first sentence. Christians can be in conflict with others because we speak Truth, and sometimes it can’t be avoided. It’s a reality of life lived in Christ amongst a secular society; not necessarily faulty interpersonal skills. That said, when we find ourselves in these situations a personal examen is important.
Mmmmm….as usual, I can’t resist making a comment. I think God wouldn’t necessarily think that just because we are at odds with other people, it might be in some way our fault. I’m surprised. Wasn’t Jesus in many ways at odds with lots of people around him? I’m not exactly a Bible expert, but I seem to remember that He spoke up in many ways that went against the crowd. We have, of course, to look at ourselves as being possibly at fault, but we should also have the courage to be who we are, even if it might annoy other people. We need to know when to be humble, but also when to speak up. Equally, we should be kind to people, but not let them create unkindness.
Yes, and Lent is a season that invites that personal heart examination, which leads to repentance.
The amazing thing about Jesus is that he was always in step with his Heavenly Father. He did his Father’s will 100% of the time (even to the cross). My big problem, is that I am in step with my Heavenly Father a shamefully small amount of the time! I forget to ask his will to be done, and muscle my own will to be done way too many times each day.
All that said, Jesus could see into the hearts of the people he interacted with – and I can’t. His responses were always exactly right, because he was – well – God. He was the kingdom come, making things new.
Of course there are times to stand up, regardless of the values of the crowd. I would say these situations might be a different post, for another day. This Lenten post is about the intimate, personal, and invested relationships we all find ourselves in at any given time, because those relationships are a window to the condition of our own hearts.
Thanks for the comment!
Or anytime really.:)
I have a problem with wordpress…where did my comment just go????
Ok, let me try this again…I THINK what I just wrote was….
that I “get” this post 100%. Loved every word from first to last sentence. And that I needed this gentle reminder to always look inward…to understand my not so holy reactions to others and ask the big WHY?…is it because God has surrounded me by totally annoying people? Or…is there something inside of ME that needs be worked out? How am I the annoying person to another?? An examen is so important…especially during Lent…and even more so at Easter dinner when the WHOLE family gathers!!! Thanks for good questions to ponder…have a blessed and fruitful Lenten journey!
Laura – I got both your comments, and am grateful for the double effort! I really like your blog, and I commend you and bless you. I love this, in particular:
I am no longer searching, because I have been found.
I am no longer ignoring that voice, because it is the voice of truth.
And I no longer write to please you, or me, or anyone…
I write to please God.
Peace to you as you write to delight our Father.
Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just
wanted to say great blog!