This past Sunday at church the pastor was talking about conflict and how we need to sort out whatever conflict we have with a person so that we can better witness not only to them but others. That got me thinking about the conflict in my life, and how I have dealt with it. I wish I could say I have no conflict with people but that would be a lie. There are times when someone hurts you, and you want nothing to do with them. I am in that season right now, so I feel as though this sermon was God talking directly to me. He mentioned the verse from Proverbs 3:3-4 "Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation" NLT.
After reading a little of Proverbs 3 over and over again after church, I couldn't stop thinking about my oldest niece, who has hurt me very badly. I haven't spoken to her nor have I reached out to her. I would justify my behavior by blaming her because she's the one who hurt me and she's the one who hasn't text or called me. It's all her, but I am the aunt. I know God, I should be like Jesus. I should be loving and kind, but I have not been. I could have resolved this conflict immediately, but yet a chose to sulk and complain which achieved nothing but a broken heart for me. I still haven't reached out, and now I am a point where I do not know how to go about it. I think a huge part of me is scared to get more hurt, and that thought scares me. I just need to trust God; it's like Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 ESV,
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." It resonates with me, to keep trying until you've exhausted all other options.
Aside from my niece, there are many times when people happen to just upsets me, and I react in a not so kind manner. Don't get me wrong I'm not cursing people out or even a yeller for that matter but I do tend to cut people off and kind of pretend like they don't exist (what I did with my niece) instead of dealing with the conflict head-on. I wish I could, but to be honest with you the people I typically have a conflict with are those that do not listen to reason or logic and trying to sort out conflict with them would be like talking to a wall meaning you get nothing resolved (maybe I'm underestimating them? Or, not). So, I thought to myself "Self, do you ever let loyalty or kindness leave you?" and I concluded that kindness does leave me at times but not often. When it comes to loyalty, I am as loyal as they come. Once you're my friend, you're always my friend. I may stray for a bit, but I am always just a phone call away.
One thing for sure is that I want to be a better witness not only to my family and friends but to everyone I come in contact with, even with those who have hurt me. I have not been doing a good enough job so far, and I understand why the pastor challenged us to get rid of the conflict we have in our lives. It certainly brings us down and doesn't benefit us or others in any positive way. We need to keep negativity as far away as possible.
My goal is to try to be more kind to my adversaries and to love TRULY thy enemy (that can be very hard), so that I may show them God's love and hopefully be a light in their life which will help lead them to Christ. I struggle daily with loving certain people that I will keep nameless at the moment. They have just been such negative people in my life that it's hard to continue to allow them to be a part of it but I'm going to try to be kind and not too critical or pretend like they don't exist.
In thinking about my goal the verse 1John 4:20 popped into my head because it is an exact verse. As a Christian woman who has accepted Jesus in my heart and has declared publicly to follow him and to share his word, it is my privilege/duty to share God's love with all that I come in contact with, for if I don't then I AM A LIAR and the truth is not within me. I believe that and I know it is hard sometimes to swallow our faults, but it is vital to understand them and try to rectify them. So that we can be the best witness we can be.
I hope that this post resonates with you and hopefully helps you in one form or another. Best wishes to you on this lovely Tuesday, may you see God's blessings all around you.
How do you deal with conflict?