recovery in Christ when life is broken

Showing items filed under “May 2016”

Conflict Resolution and LOVE

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Conflict is a normal part of life. It is an opportunity to honor God, and experience deeper relationships with Him and others. In my life, apart from Christ, pride and fear often made me a conflict avoider—a “peace faker.” As a result of avoiding conflict, resentments towards others burdened me and my relationships were shallow. However, as I began to follow Christ, I saw that the Bible says a lot about resolving conflict.

 

God, the ultimate peacemaker, cares deeply about resolving conflict. God resolved the conflict that sin created between Him and us by sending Christ to pay for sin on our behalf. Then, for those of us willing to reconcile with God, He blessed us with the Holy Spirt to give us supernatural guidance and strength to step into hard conversations.

 

In Step 12, the acronym L-O-V-E highlights some powerful truths to remember when you make efforts to resolve conflict.

Love is the goal:

  • Deal with sin on your side of the relationship before confronting someone’s sin against you. (Matthew 7:5)
  • Overlook minor offenses. However, if someone’s sin is harming his or her relationship with God and others, it is loving to make that person aware. (Ephesians 4:15, Proverbs 19:11)

Only God can open people’s eyes to sin and change hearts. Pray. Seek godly counsel when necessary. Be faithful to your role to carry God’s message of reconciliation, but rely on God for change. (Philippians 2:13)

Voice the truth. Do not dismiss sin, excuse sin, or minimize sin’s damage. Be honest and loving about how you have hurt the other person and how you have been hurt by the other person. (Proverbs 27:5-6)

Be an Example of Christ’s love to others:

  • Extend to others the same kindness and mercy God extended to you. Share God’s hope of reconciliation. Forgive others. (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Be willing to establish a new relationship aligned with God’s will if the person repents. Do not dwell on the past, revisit the sin, or gossip about the event. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • Be willing to change unhealthy relationships. If people are not repentant or willing to address sin, be ready to change your relationship. (Matthew 18:15-17)

 

When we are reconciled with God, then our relationships can be built (even rebuilt) on God’s truth and love. As we reconcile relationships we reflect His character to others as sons and daughters of God and ministers of reconciliation. Admit today where you need to take a step to resolve conflict! Confess it to a faithful friend and have him or her hold you accountable to see the process of reconciliation with the other person through to the end. God is ready with truth and grace to lead and support you as you take that step of faithfulness!

-Liz B.

 

Additional References

in Faith

Five Things God Taught Me Through Tragedy

One day I was playing basketball during my lunch break and got a phone call that changed my life…” Jeff, you need to leave immediately and go straight to the hospital…your 2-year-old niece has been hit by a car and it’s serious.”  I remember the panic that ran through my body. My heart raced as I grabbed my keys—so many questions and no answers. By the time I reached the hospital, I took one look at my older sister (who was standing outside of the ER) and knew that my niece had died. Kara was gone. In 15 minutes, our lives had changed forever.

 

As information about the tragedy came in, it was more horrible than I’d imagined. My brother-in-law had accidentally backed over her while moving his trailer. My sister, along with my 5-year-old nephew, witnessed it.

 

That was twelve years ago, and our family still carries the scars of walking through this tragedy together. Though I wouldn’t wish this experience on my worst enemy, it is a part of a story that God has entrusted to us as a family. He ministered to us in very special ways during this time. You may have experienced something similar (or maybe something worse) but I write this to demonstrate that God can redeem, restore, and use really bad things in our lives to help us know Him more.

 

Though the Lord taught us much through this tragedy, I want to share 5 specific things: 

  1. Theology matters. (Psalm 119:111)

Questions about God and His character are thrust to the forefront when tragedy strikes; Questions like “Where is God?” and “Why didn’t God stop this from happening?” I’ll never forget my sister’s words as she was troubled by bad theology spoken by friends and family…with tears in her eyes she said, “Please tell me the devil didn’t steal my baby from me!” She was hearing from them that “that old devil stole your baby away” …as if God had somehow fallen asleep at the wheel. I went home that night and compiled many Scriptures to help her navigate her grief and give her a true understanding of God, His character, and his ways. 

  1. God’s presence is most potent in times of tragedy. (Psalm 23: 4, Mark 4:37-39)

I remember a strange supernatural peace that was present with us at the funeral home as we hugged friends who tried to comfort us...thinking, “Why are other people so despairing?” I remembered coming to the realization that God is an “ever present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He provided a peace that transcended understanding during this difficult time. Some would call this “shock”- but that is too simple of an explanation for the power that we felt to be able to comfort those who were visiting us. 

  1. God speaks in little ways to remind us He loves us and is in control. (Psalm 73:26)

I will share one example (of many) that my sister relayed to me. My sister was having doubts as to whether she was a good mother to Kara, and even that “if she would have been a better one, she could have prevented this tragedy.” A few weeks after Kara’s death, she was cleaning my mom’s house to “give herself something to do”, when she “happened” on an e-mail that my mom had printed. This e-mail, from several months before, went on and on about what a great mother my sister is. It described several specific instances where my mom had noticed this about my sister. My sister cried as she read it, and said that it was as if God was whispering, “You see, I love you. You were a great mother.” 

  1. God taught me the “Ministry of Presence”. (Proverbs 25:20, Gal. 6:2)

Words were not adequate to either give me comfort or express the magnitude of my grief during the first few days of our loss. But, I remember who came to the funeral- the friends who took time out of their “busy” schedules to grieve with me-it was very powerful and important. And years later, my brother-in-law told me that the one thing that meant the most to him during our time together was that I was present and by his side (touching my shoulder with his) during the most difficult parts of the first few days of our loss—no words, just presence. 

  1. God gave me a special heart for others who go through similar tragedies. (2 Corinthians 1:4, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Since Kara’s death, God has used my experience with tragedy to comfort others who have experienced trauma. I feel a special calling to be there for others during hard times, and I am equipped to navigate the difficulties that come when tragedy strikes.

 

God never provided us clarity as to “why” this tragedy happened, but we felt God’s presence throughout it. We still treasure the many passages of scripture that God used to comfort us.

 

The following year, on Easter (I can’t make this stuff up), my sister gave birth to another baby girl, Jordyn Grace. Although we will always miss Kara, we treasure little Jordyn. When we look into her eyes, we are reminded of both the intense pain from the past and an amazing hope for the future. God is good—even when life (and death) doesn’t make sense.

-Jeff K.

recovery in Christ when life is broken.