A key principle to remember The golden rule in the Scripture is that all things must proceed from love and must glorify God. When conflict arises, our attitudes and behaviours should reflect our new life in Christ, given by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. We are to be Spirit-controlled and not fleshcontrolled, or out of control. Paul warned the new believers: “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another2” Much of our conflict is because we act out of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these3”. The Holy Spirit is opposed to each of these works of the flesh. Instead of acting out of the flesh, we must be led by the Spirit and display the fruit of the Spirit Some lessons I have learnt Staying silent is a terrible thing. Before you think I advocate bellowing your lungs out, allow me to clarify. If you are the kind that does not open up easily, then you are like me. We cause more damage by staying silent. We must speak up. We must allow the other person to know our thoughts and what hurt us, without sounding like we are blaming the other person, even though our opinion is that he is at fault. Speak to restore relationships. Our goal in speaking up must not be to prove that we are right. On the contrary,
we must do all things to glorify God. God is glorified in our peace-making. We must submit to one another and esteem one another even in the midst of conflict. Seek godly counsel in resolving conflict. Sometimes our conflicts cannot be resolved between us and the other person. The Bible teaches us not to take this up to outsiders. We must seek help from among our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Speak to the elders in the church and get the matter resolved. God enables us to love by first loving us. The good news is that God never commands us to love without first loving us. We are free to love because we are greatly loved ourselves. Just as secure children have their parents’ love in their emotional bank, so Christians have the assurance of their heavenly Father’s love. The love of God checks us, when we are tempted to dislike or reject a fellow Christian. Saying we love God and hating a Christian brother or sister doesn’t fit. Loving others isn’t just a nice thought. It’s God’s command4. The quality of all our relationships — with family, church, neighbors and strangers — is a sign of our relationship with God. It’s very likely that if we’re in a bad relationship with someone else, we’re also in a bad relationship with God.5
So let us owe each other nothing but the debt of love!
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Acts 2:44-47). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 2
Dobson, E., Leas, S., & Shelley, M. (1992). Mastering conflict & Controversy. Mastering Ministry (15–16). Portland, OR; Carol Stream, IL: Multnomah Press; Christianity Today, Inc. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Gal 5:15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 3
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Gal 5:19–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 4
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (1 Jn 4:20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 5
Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.) (690). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg. Mark
About the Author: Edison pastors Cross Cultured Church. He is married to Lauren. They live in Mysore with their mischievous daughter Allegra and dog Bella.
Humour A minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of he parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped. The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped. The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.” The boy Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just picked up my knapsack and jumped out!
Published on May 23, 2014