Saturday Say WHAT?! #8

   

“As Peacemaking Women book shared in the Biblical Peacemaking chapter, we are called to unity in Christ through the Spirit of peace.  To validate that a review of scripture reveals the following verses on unity and living at peace with others:

  • Ephesians 4:1-3 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
  • Philippians 2:1-3 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
  • Romans 12:17-19 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  • Romans 15:5-7 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:9-11 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

But conflict arises for many reasons and upsets this unity, if we allow it.  Rather than reacting too quickly in a heated emotional state, we are wise to wait and pray for discernment.  Reviewing scripture is a good place to start getting our focus back on God and His will for our lives through the conflict at hand. Seek first to have God point our anything offending in us, so we may confess our sins and remain humble.  Only when our sin is dealt with properly will we be able to humbly help others with their sin. “

What’s our solution to conflict?  As always, it’s found in the Word of God and prayer.  Following Jesus and the apostles’ examples of how they handled conflict, their teachings on restoring and forgiving others will show us the right way to approach conflict in our lives.

***

Sigh.  As I and others have said over and over again, forgiveness and restoration are NOT synonymous.  They are two different things, two distinct parts of the equation in conflict resolution.  Forgiveness is a solo act; restoration takes two. 

“What’s the solution to conflict?” this author asks.  Her response, though ostensibly biblical, is typical of the somewhat incomplete and feeble thinking of much of Christendom on this question.  While the solution to conflict begins in prayer and God’s Word, it may get considerably more complex and thorny than a few Bible verses.  Restoring an offended party takes work. 

Forgiveness does not automatically guarantee reconciliation.  Again, forgiveness is a solo act; reconciliation takes two.  There are instances in which forgiveness may be genuinely offered – and the offending party being forgiven is unable or unwilling to respond appropriately.  Hence, altho the forgiving party chooses to bury the hatchet, stop the hate, give up the right to get even, the conflict remains unresolved because of the independent actions and choices of another.  This doesn’t mean you nurse a grudge forever, but it may mean that it’s time to move on, leaving that person who hurt you in God’s hands.  Realize that while forgiveness is always possible; restoration sometimes isn’t.

   Also recognize that united Christians pose a huge threat to the kingdom of darkness.  United, we’re invincible.  Fractured,  we’re easy prey for the Enemy.  Cut off or isolated by unresolved conflict or fake forgiveness, he takes us out one by one. 

Because unity is essential to our strength and effectiveness as Believers, expect it to be opposed.  Expect to have to fight for it, to put some work into achieving and maintaining unity.  And by “unity” I don’t mean uniformity.  Nor do I mean sweeping every conflict or disagreement under the rug, which never solves a thing.  I mean a true and authentic unity that comes from openness, accountability, authenticity, mutual love and support and a never-say-die commitment to one another within the bonds of Christ.  This is rarely – if ever – as easy and simplistic as this author suggests. 

For related discussions, visit:

 https://hevencense.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/whats-so-amazing-about-grace/

https://hevencense.wordpress.com/2007/11/18/trigger-happy-forgiveness/

 https://hevencense.wordpress.com/2008/03/01/how-to-kill-a-small-group/

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