walk in the word
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 16:18
Have you ever done some remodeling around your house? Do you enjoy fixing your place up? Maybe you bought an older home and wanted to install new kitchen cabinets, update a bathroom, or finish part of the basement.
Home improvements are fine, but on Walk in the Word this week, we’re talking about something a whole lot more important—we’re focused on family remodeling. God wants us to have maturing, loving, Christ-honoring families, and His Word gives us all that we need to make this a reality. For the sake of time, we’ll look at one way to remodel your family; tune in to Walk in the Word to catch the other four. This is the most important renovation project that you will ever undertake, don’t miss any of the steps!
Picking up with #4, one way you can remodel your family is to resolve conflict quickly. If you’re like most families, you’ve probably had some strife in your home this very week. Be honest. Maybe it was a little tiff about time, or space, or priorities, or values, orspending. Perhaps it was one of those he-said-she-said things. At times all you can hear is the noise of conflict. Or even worse than the noise is silence. It’s the “we don’t talk that much anymore” situation. The silence can be absolutely deafening. So I say to each one of us: resolve conflict quickly.
Improving at Reconciliation
This isn’t always easy, but Romans 12 gives us some specific steps that we can take in order to become better mediators. In verse 16 Paul writes, “Be of the same mind toward one another.” What this really means is that we need to be aggressive. This is the first step towards conflict resolution. If you are not on good terms with somebody, you need to go and work it out immediately. Be of the same mind toward one another.
Second, we must be humble. Paul continues in verse 16, “Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” That’s a great way to bring a conflict to a quick end! How can you have an argument if you don’t think highly of your own standing? Never allow yourself to be in a position where you’re too proud to listen to the other person.
Third, we need to be positive. Romans 12:17 says, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Just imagine what looking at things from a positive perspective could do. As you interact with people, focus on the things about them that are strong; don’t focus on their weaknesses. Every person has many wonderful characteristics. If you want to settle conflicts, accept others and be positive. That’s what the body of Christ is all about.
Fourth, if we want to improve at resolving conflict, we need to be peaceable. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” In the sermon on the mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Being a peacemaker is a great thing! Let’s suppose that you and a friend are having a big fight about something. In your heart you know that you should probably work it out, but you just don’t want to do anything to help the situation. What do you really need? You just need your friend to come and give you a hug. Sometimes each of us needs someone to cut through all the pride and say, “I want to work this out.” We need to seek peace.
Fifth, we must be forgiving. Verse 19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved.” Forgiveness is moving from “You owe me,” to “You owe me nothing.” Forgiveness is the choice to release a person from the obligation that resulted when they hurt me. How desperately we need that in conflict resolution! There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. Initiate it, and look for good results.
Sixth, we need to be aggravating. That’s what Romans 12:20 teaches: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” In other words, kill ’em with kindness! And that’s not wrong. That’s the loving, peaceful way. That’s God’s way. Give Him an opportunity to work through your merciful kindness. It might aggravate the other person for awhile, but it will ultimately work out for your good and theirs.
Seventh, if we’re going to improve our conflict resolution, we must be strong. We need to endure. Verse 21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” If we would just take these seven things seriously, how much conflict do you suppose would get resolved? It would be unbelievable! I urge each one of us: mediate. Let’s work hard at solving problems and settling conflicts in our homes. Give God the opportunity to work.
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