Restoration In Conflict
As long as we imperfect humans attempt ministry here on earth that involves other imperfect people, there will be possibilities of misunderstood motives and hurt feelings. Several sleepless nights have caused me to re-examine my motives and self-reliance in some ministries. Whenever our actions are questioned, our pride tends to rare up in defense and block what God might be trying to teach us.
Even as faultless as David could be when writing his lamenting Psalms, the Lord used those times to drive a deeper relationship of trust with his Creator.”
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
2 I will cry out to God Most High,
To God who performs all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah
God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.” Psalm 57
Very rarely will we be found faultless in any situation. But even if we are not the cause and have been unfairly quoted or maligned, God can use those times to purify a humble and patient spirit when dealing with others. Our Savior lived 33 years as an example of humility and patience. ,”.. although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” Philippians 2:6 We can only imagine what Christ gave up for us and the indignities He endured. His was a life of Living Grace. 1 Peter 5:5 tells us how to have this grace in our lives: “be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”
When David’s sins were brought to light, however, they drove him to write a humble Psalm 51.
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
My daughter called from college years ago and said, “I’ve been praying for humility, and it’s no fun!” It never is. Humility usually comes with a heavy price. However, in the past when I did bite the bullet, humbled myself and admitted my faults, I have seen the Lord use it not only in my life, but also in the one the Lord laid on my heart to approach. I used to think I was the only one that struggled with pride until I found a reoccurring theme in the Bible and in the confessions of other believers. The question is, will I let this conflict kill more of my pride and be willing to admit my part in the issue? Very seldom are we faultless in conflict. Will I let God’s magnifying glass illuminate my sins I have justified or tolerated? Am I going to let pride block His winnowing fork from purifying my motives and deepening my reliance on the Holy Spirit?
DON’T LET THE DEVIL WIN
The evil one would love to discourage us and use conflict to disparage the Church and all work in God’s name. Everywhere we look we see ministries falter because of issues the Holy Spirit could have used to purify them. Seeing conflict from God’s perspective will give us the power to recognize the destroying work of the evil one at play. If we see the devil trying to divide and discourage, we will wait on God’s guidance instead of throwing up walls from accusations or hurt. Through His eyes we can navigate with grace and love above the fray from which the devil wishes to entangle us.
Restoration is God’s specialty. Whether redeeming mankind or reclaiming His creation in the new heaven and new earth, our God can make all things right. KNOWING our all-powerful God can handle the smallest conflicts to the Goliaths in our day should equip us to handle whatever is thrown our way. Perhaps our biggest enemy is smooth sailing that lulls us into an “I can handle this,” lifestyle that neglects to seek His wisdom in the calm. I tend to run ahead with what seems good to me without enough time seeking God’s face and guidance, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders work for nothing” (Psalm 127:1). Lord, forgive my arrogance in not relying on you for every breath much less every step. Burn within me a new desire to seek your face before every action, especially those which seek to spread your Good News and make disciples.
Lord, help me be patient and not reactive, open and not closed to painful revelations of my motives, and humble to accept new light shown on my faults and missteps.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Kathie grew up in a Christian home on a cotton farm near Hale Center, Texas. She met Mike while attending Wayland Baptist University and took her first teaching job in Perth, Western Australia shortly after they were married. After a few years, they returned to Texas and raised their three children in several towns around the Panhandle as Mike took jobs as principal and then superintendent of schools. Kathie retired 3 years ago after teaching science and math for 25 years. The freedom of retirement has enabled her to be involved in several ministries and gardening as well as be involved in the lives of their children and 10 grandchildren spread across the US and overseas. Kathie says her life sermon is the Peace and Power that is available to all believers through our relationship through Jesus. “I lived my early years thinking and belonging to Christianity as a club with fire insurance. In my mid-twenties, I caught a glimpse of the relationship God wanted with me if I would only trust Him with all of my life. I gave it all to him and my life has never been the same.”