5. When Relationships Reach a Roadblock
Conflicts! We have all, at some point in life, faced conflicts head on with others. Most people hate it. In a perfect world, we’d all get along; but we live in a fallen world where people are misunderstood, feelings are hurt, and agendas are pursued. When our relationships with others reach a roadblock the Holy Spirit constrains us to reconcile the quarrel.
God wants us to live in harmony with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We should seek peace with others. However, sometimes it not always possible. Romans 12:18, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Sometimes you have to deal with difficult people. When conflict arises, pray that God will give you the wisdom to deal with it Biblically. I’ve had to deal with conflict over the years. And while I haven’t been perfect, I’ve learned many valuable lessons about handling disagreements.
Hopefully some of these suggestions can help you in your life:
1. Try not to provoke the other person. Even if you are right and the other person is wrong, do your best to keep your feelings in check.
2. When you are right, use humility and grace.
3. Consider yourself. Don’t allow yourself to say, “I would never have done what this person did.”
4. Apologize. Be the first to seek reconciliation. You’d be surprised at how disarming a genuine “I’m sorry” can be.
5. Sacrifice where necessary, but not your core values. Be willing to give of yourself if it means resolving the conflict.
The Church is the place where people must bear with one another in love. We are not yet what we are going to be, and we need to "bear with one another" as the process goes on. Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”. It is putting up with one another in a spirit of love. Forbearing one another means a person tolerates others when they irritate him or to put up with things we don't like in other people. Forbearance has a touch of tolerance, or a component of compassion, to defer a rightful demand out of consideration for the weakness of a fellow believer.
The idea is not only of putting up with each other, but indeed forgiving each other. Even as Christ forgave us, we in turn ought to forgive others. In the context of longsuffering, Paul expounds that we forbear one another and forgive one another. More specifically, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Forbearing one another speaks of longsuffering. Even as Christ forgave us, we in turn ought to forgive others. Forgiving one another carries the idea of the gracious removal of sin and the gracious treatment of the sinner who is unworthy to receive it. He qualifies forgiveness by saying that believers should forgive in the same way the Lord forgave us. How did the Lord forgive us?
He forgives us in such a way that He no longer holds our sins against us. Many Christians are historians. They are constantly bringing up what someone did to them last month, a year ago, or two years ago. Their forgiveness is worldly instead of like Christ. They forgive, but only as long as it suits them. Believers should forgive like Christ did. Christ doesn’t forget because He can’t forget anything. When Scripture says, “their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17), it simply means He no longer holds it against us.
Are you holding on to a record of wrongs? Are you holding on to past sins that someone committed against you? One of the things that should identify us as Christians is our Christlike forgiveness. How can we do these things suggested in Colossians 3:13? How can we put up with things we don't like in others? How can we let go of things others have done to us? We can do these things because this is what Jesus did for us. He put up with things in us He did not like. He let go of the things we have done to Him. Since He did that for us, we should be willing to do that for Him. Since He did that to us, we should be willing to do that to others.
Prayer, Father, I want to have Your heart about reconciliation. You sent Your Son to reconcile me to Yourself, help bring reconciliation to those around me. Thank You for Your Word that gives me wisdom and direction in handling conflict between people I love. Give me Your words and wisdom as I reach out to those that are hurting as You lead. Your principles for handling conflict remind me again of the importance of living out my relationship with You in relation to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.