My thoughts are flowing right alongside Kevin’s.
Ever since I had to do some serious conflict management on Sunday morning (and night), I’ve been thinking about how God wants us to live at peace with everyone.
This does not mean to shove things so far under the rug that we forget about them.
Because in doing so, we’re actually fostering bitterness.
And bitterness not only tears us apart from our core, but it lies dormant until another sliver gets shoved into our fingertips, and then another and another, until we are so full of ache and pain and anger that we explode on the last person who offends us.
This is not how we are to live.
Jesus, via James, addresses this issue when he says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the desires that battle within you?
You want something, but don’t get it.”
Most of our conflicts are rooted in selfishness.
And that selfishness may not be evident, but I believe it’s selfish to shove the issues under the rug.
It’s selfish to “fake the peace.”
It’s also selfish to blame the other person for your pain and suffering.
We must approach the offender with LOVE.
Explain our feelings, the way we interpreted their words and actions–not condemning them, but revealing our own hurt.
Prayerfully, they will see where they felt wronged and where they acted out in sin.
Forgiveness is requested and granted.
And though the situation may still ache for a while, because true forgiveness has been granted, each party is able to leave with a clear spirit.
And eventually..move on.
Yes, conflicts may divide even the closest of friends for a time,
but the other issue is simply that we don’t always get along with certain individuals.
They get under our skin and irritate us to the point of frustration and anger.
We can NOT let this happen.
The New Testament reminds me often that we are to “bear with one another.”
We are commanded to lovingly put up with those who bother us, those who just don’t get it, those who start arguments because they have nothing better to do.
Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
We will never reach the level of forgiveness God has bestowed on our lives, covering ALL of our sins,
so we might as well suck it up and keep forgiving.