walk in the word
Have you ever noticed that it’s not the big things that bulldoze their way into our homes but it’s the little things that eat away at the peace? It’s the unresolved quarrel, the repeated irritation, the continuous habit. Solomon calls this “the little foxes that spoil the vine.” 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” scenario. One of the lessons we learn from our study,Building a Home God’s Way on the air this week, is the importance of resolving conflict quickly.
This isn’t always easy. To help us become better mediators, the Lord gave us Romans 12 and seven specific steps we can take. The first step is found in verse 16, “Be of the same mind toward one another.” This means we need to go after resolution aggressively. If you are not on good terms with somebody, take the initiative to work it out immediately.
Second, we must be humble. Verse 16 continues, “Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” Want a sure-fire way to bring a conflict to a quick end?—be humble! Never allow pride to stop up your ears or your heart from listening 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.” Ask yourself, what difference would it make if I viewed this person with respect? As you interact with people, focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. 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.” Let’s suppose that you and a friend are having a big fight. In your heart you know that you should work it out, but you just don’t want to do anything to help the situation. What is needed?—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 you. How desperately we need this! There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. Initiate this, 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! That’s God’s way. It might drive the other person crazy for awhile, but the extended mercy will ultimately work out for your good and theirs.
Seventh, if we’re going to improve our conflict resolution, we must be strong. Verse 21 says,“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” How much conflict do you suppose would get resolved if we stood resolutely on these seven points? Let’s work hard at getting the little foxes out the front door and give God the opportunity to work.
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