Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 10, 2017
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But among all the blessings of Christmas, there is sometimes something unpleasant that comes knocking: holiday conflict. Maybe you experienced conflict with family or friends this year. And perhaps you long for relational peace but you just aren’t sure how to get it. The great thing is that Scripture provides us with tons of instruction on how to make peace with others.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
Granted, this doesn’t mean that if you follow all that the Bible says in regard to relational conflict you’ll have easy relationships. But just as it is with many things in life, change can begin with you. Here are a few things to take to heart about peacemaking for the next holiday and for the coming year.
Peacemaking begins with admitting we are blind. Wisdom which leads to relational restoration begins with admitting we all have the tendency to be blind to our own sins. We are all unaware of the ways we contribute to relational disharmony. For example, we may be overly sensitive, critical, or negative. When we keep this truth in mind, it’s easier to approach conflict resolution with humility. However, if we automatically assume we have all the answers and that there is no way we are wrong, we will naturally lack the humility that is necessary to solve conflict well. Scripture encourages us to be careful in self-examination. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
But maybe you are thinking, “Wait a minute! But I know I am right. The other person was clearly in the wrong.” Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps that family member or friend you had the conflict with during the holidays was wrong and you know it. But listen up. . . the wise person does not rush in to prove their innocence with an argument, blame, or condemnation. Why? Because they have higher goals of relational peace, glorifying God, and love in mind. So, they seek to listen first to understand where the other person is coming from before they seek to be understood. Because they value relational intimacy and harmony over proving they are right, they embrace humility and love. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. . .” There is wisdom in taking this scripture to heart when things get heated.
When we seek to understand first and—as a result—the other party reveals their motives or heart to us during the conflict resolution process, it makes it easier not to focus on their behavior and what they did wrong. Instead, we start to see them as a person with insecurities, fears, flaws, and sin just like ourselves. Then, it’s a lot easier to forgive. Transparency helps us bond to one another even when the going gets tough.
Be encouraged. Change can begin with you as you choose God’s way of resolving conflict.
“And if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:4).
PrayerLord, thank you that you have given me everything I need for life and godliness, including how to resolve conflict. Please give me the courage to choose your way and love others well. Amen.
ApplicationDo an online study and look up all the scriptures you can find on resolving conflict. Then put some of them into practice.
Related ReadingMatthew 18:15-17; Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:13
Post/Tweet todayWhen we value relational intimacy and harmony over proving we are right, we embrace humility and love. #WisdomHunters #HowtoSolveConflict
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