Sunday, October 19, 2008
Dealing with conflict God's Way
This picture of Sadie from last summer is so darn cute! It has nothing to do with this post other than that I like posts with pictures! :)
:::Warning! Long post following!! :):::
Tonight, at church of all places, I experienced a conflict with a member of our church. This was not a little conflict. This person verbally attacked me and slandered my charcter. This was something that I would never have expected from a saved person. Actualy I would not even expect to be treated this way by an unsaved person either, it was that harsh. All that was said about me was said with no merit at all and was completely false. After our first little instance where she belittled me I was calm and walked away and then cried in the parking lot. I got in the car and talked to Brian about it and we decided that we needed to go back into the church and talk to her and her husband immediately so that the situation did not escalate and so that there would not be any dissention within the body (i.e. the church). We tried to just speak with them one on one but when that was not working we asked our Preacher for help with this matter. (Now let me tell you... We have a great Preacher, he is genuine, caring, and a great friend. I have no doubt that if any part of this would have been on me, he would have called me out and made me completely aware of my sin.) After a little more trying to reason, we had said our peace so we left and the Preacher stayed back with them and talked the issue out. Needless to say about 1/2 hour after we had left the church we got a call from the preacher telling us what he discussed with the other couple and that the other couple would be calling us in a little while. About 15 minutes later we got the call. She apologized to me and to Brian. I am glad that we now have resolved this issue. I am also glad that God is testing me. I know this sounds a bit odd but if He is testing me that means He is working on me. And if He is working on me that is a good thing because He is using things to strengthen my faith!
I told you all of this to tell you this.... When conflicts come into your life, deal with them God's way. I truly feel that we dealt with this in exactly the manner that God expects from us. Had I just stayed in the car and cried and then gone home, nothing would have been resolved, church fellowship would be awkward, I'm sure gossip would have run rampant, and the devil would have been given way to many prime opportunities to cause us and those around us in our congregation to sin. This is just another example of that God's will and way will always be better than our way or our will. God designed a way for us as Christians to deal with conflicts is is found in Matthew 18:15-17.
15"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16"But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
17"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
But then there is the part about the forgiveness after the issue has been resolved. I will be honest right now I am still a little shaken and hurt about the things that were said to me. I forgive her for saying them but it is hard not to associate my hurt feelings with her. I am praying that God will help me to completely forgive her and move on from all of these emotions and I am also praying for her. Just a few verses down in the chapter we learn about forgiveness. Matthew 16: 21-35
21Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
23"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
24"When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
25"But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.
26"So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'
27"And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
28"But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'
29"So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'
30"But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.
31"So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.
32"Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
33'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'
34"And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
35"My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
Tonight as I was doing my devotions I was in Proverbs 17-20. Let me tell you, right when I opened up to this passage and started reading I was instantly awestuck with how God works every detail of our lives out. There could not have been a better passage to read after all of the events tonight. There was encouragement in that I was doing what was acceptable to God and following what He directs and calls me to do. There was also conviction and challenge in that I need to not be haughty about this issue, I need to be humble and I need to be quick to forgive. I would post the whole passage but it is pretty lengthy so I urge you to go "dive" into it on your own this week!
The verse that stuck out to me the most and is going to be on my mind this week is Proverbs 19:11
11 A man's discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
That is the NASB verson as are the other passages but I especially like the way that it is worded in the NLT:
11 Sensible people control their temper;
they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.
I feel that I accomplished the first part of this verse tonight but now I am really working on accomplishing the second half of the verse! Your prayers are always appreciated!