Tag Archives: conflict

At the Heart of Every Conflict

It never ceases to amaze me how blind people can be when it comes to conflict– always ready to blame and never willing to look at themselves. I shouldn’t be surprised, because I did it for most of my life, but oh my goodness, things go so much better when we are willing to be honest with ourselves, and when we get down off our “thrones” and leave judgment to God.

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Lord, I am simply in awe of how gracious You are. My efforts are small and pathetic, yet You respond in abundant and powerful ways. It blows my mind, and I am forever grateful. My flesh and the world tell me how inadequate I am on a daily basis, but when I get into your presence that condemnation melts away as I bask in your sweet love. It is amazing that my perfect God can embrace such imperfection, and yet in our human condition we rarely extend such grace to others. Instead, we tend to see others’ faults while ignoring our own. We act as though we actually deserve your abundant grace. There is so little humility in this world—even among your people. You called the religious leaders “blind guides” and I would venture to say nothing has changed in 2000 years. I catch myself focusing on the “specks” in…

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At the Heart of Every Conflict

Lord, I am simply in awe of how gracious You are. My efforts are small and pathetic, yet You respond in abundant and powerful ways. It blows my mind, and I am forever grateful. My flesh and the world tell me how inadequate I am on a daily basis, but when I get into your presence that condemnation melts away as I bask in your sweet love. It is amazing that my perfect God can embrace such imperfection, and yet in our human condition we rarely extend such grace to others. Instead, we tend to see others’ faults while ignoring our own. We act as though we actually deserve your abundant grace. There is so little humility in this world—even among your people. You called the religious leaders “blind guides” and I would venture to say nothing has changed in 2000 years. I catch myself focusing on the “specks” in the eyes of others while ignoring the blinding “log” in my own (Mt. 7:3-5). I see it in counseling all the time. People come in able to list every single fault of the person who has offended them, but very few are ever willing to look at their own. Lord, forgive the hypocrisy of your people! Help us to see ourselves clearly, and teach us to search our own hearts rather than judging our brothers and sisters. At the heart of every relational conflict we find people standing in judgment over each other. In our imperfection, we determine that someone else is far more imperfect. We set ourselves up in the position of judge—a position that only You deserve. Help me to lead by example, and never take your amazing grace for granted. Help me to remember how flawed and weak I am in my dealings with others, so that I can extend to them the same overwhelming grace You show me daily. If your people would embrace humility and grace, it could completely transform this world. As it is, we simply look like the world. We act as though the Gospel is only meant to save our souls, and forget the impact if should have on our relationships. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to be tenderhearted and to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Help us to be honest with ourselves, and willing to look our own sin before judging others. Forgive us for looking like the world, and rendering the Gospel ineffective for daily life. Amen

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mt. 7:1-5 NLT

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.                                                                                                

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?  James 4:1-12 ESV

 

 

Flawed People, Broken Relationships & God

Lord, I want to bless others as You have blessed me. Let the abundance You have given flow out to others. I know your sweet goodness and love, and so many who claim to know You live in fear and defeat. They do not know your perfect love that casts out fear. They don’t trust in your goodness, and they are in bondage. Many I love are among that number, and as much as I would love to fix it, I can’t. I have to trust that You will use brokenness to draw them to yourself, and to teach them that your ways are higher than theirs. It is so hard to watch them flounder through life, and missing your best. Please, Lord, open their blind eyes! Help them see your great love and goodness.

Life lived with flawed people is not easy. There is always something to stress over. Yet, in your wisdom You chose to make us to live in relationship. In recent years, You have helped me see how often I contribute to each messed up relationship, and have called me to “take the log out of my own eye.” When it comes right down to it, nobody ever does anything worse to me than what I do to You regularly. I neglect You and focus on myself way too often. Please forgive me, and help me to always look at my own heart before I start judging others. Then help me to show the same grace and mercy you show me when dealing with those who are blind to their own flaws. I know relationships are the best instruments of change in our lives. The problem is that we are too often resistant to your agenda. We do not let our conflicts and relational struggles drive us to You. Instead we frantically grasp for control, and push You away. You stand ready to redeem, but we choose self-destruction. Lord, I pray for all the people I love who are in self-destructive modes right now. Help them to see their need to surrender— to humble themselves before You and others. Show them the power of yielding their broken relationships to You and finding only You have the power to redeem. Help them see that praying for an answer while striving for control is self-defeating and help them turn their lives wholly over to You, because You are good and worthy.

Dear child, be careful that you also surrender. You must give your loved ones to Me. Understanding what others need to do is wonderful, but you must remember that every teacher must lead by example. I see your stress and concern for those you love, and stress is a sure indication that you have not fully surrendered them to Me. Come to me with uplifted hands, letting go of all the cares that would weigh you down. I stand ready to carry these burdens for you. I love these little ones more than you do, and my love is perfect. Yours is flawed and mixed with selfish motives. Let go. I am able. My hand is not shortened that I cannot save (Is. 59:1), but I am fully able. Let go of the sins that block the flow of my blessings—your self-serving agendas, your worry, and your desire to control it all. I long to give you rest. Come lie down in my green pastures. Come stand beside the still waters of satisfaction in Me. Let me restore your soul, and undo the damage the world has done. Enjoy the banquet I provide for you in the presence of those loved ones who act more like enemies sometimes. Let my goodness and mercy follow you as defining characteristics of your life. Come away with me my beloved, and I will make your feet like hinds’ feet to scale the high places of life. You do not have to stay in the Valley of Defeat when I am your shepherd. Walk with me and do not fret. I am mighty to save and redeem. Leave them all in my able hands.