08.06.2019 LITTLE TIMES OF TROUBLE
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26, 27
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19, 20
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
“I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:12-14
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7, 8
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The above passages give us a template for how to live in Christ-like relationships to one another.
God’s calling for families is the same calling He has for all individuals who follow Christ; we are a new crea9on, created in Christ Jesus to reveal His righteousness and love as His Spirit indwells us. We become inten9onal in our love and humility i.e. we make a conscious decision daily to live our lives in submission to God instead of being guided by our own selfish and self-centred desires.
As individuals we are called to represent Christ in our life here on Earth. This is the purpose of our lives. As Chris9an families, we are called to represent the character of God, who is our loving Father, the Mother who never forgets us, and the Brother who is always at our side: the God who sacrificed His life for us that we might live eternally with Him.
Thus, agape’ love and humility should mark all our interac9ons as family members in a Chris9an family.
Where such understanding of God’s calling to Chris9an families exist, the poten9al for conflict is significantly reduced.
We must however, recognize that to live as God desires us to live is impossible in our own human strength. We must live as Christ lived on earth – totally dependent on His Father to do the works of God in Him and through Him (John 14:10, 11). We call this ‘the faith of Jesus’. As Jesus depended on His Father, we are called to believe and depend on Him so that He, through His Spirit can work the works of God in us (John 6:28, 29).
This is par9cularly true when we are faced with conflict. We need Christ-likeness to deal with conflict, as conflict is painful and causes us to want to jus9fy ourselves and become intransigent in our insistence that we are right and the ‘other person’ is in the wrong. It is only as we have learned of Christ and His love that we are able to accept false accusa9ons meekly, to let go of our pride for the sake of maintaining good rela9onships, to be willing to ask for forgiveness where we have been wrong and to be sacrificial in our love and forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
“We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our a?tude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own.” Christ’s Object Lessons p.251
Conflict Resolu)on in Chris)an Families
Because we live in a world of sin, some family conflict is inevitable, even among sincere Chris9ans.
Common Causes of Conflict:
Common Causes of Conflict:
Differences over religion, morals and values; money, how to raise children, sexual issues, distribu9on of du9es within the family, rela9ves, friends, entertainment, expecta9ons and personality differences.
With so many potential causes of family conflict it is not surprising that many families are dysfunc9onal, leading many to mistakenly believe that marriage and family are outdated. But marriage is a pre-Fall ins9tu9on blessed by God and intended to be a revela9on to a fallen world of the uncondi9onal, self-giving love of God.
Perhaps the most painful is the situa9on where a family member does not accept Christ. Jesus Himself foretold this in Ma`hew 10:34-36. Another major source of conflict can arise when a believer marries an unbeliever and there is a constant state of disagreement because one spouse has a Chris9an mind-set and the other does not. Even more painful is marriage between Chris9ans, where one spouse turns out to have a worldly mind-set and the other has a godly mind. Hence the advice not to be yoked unless there is agreement:
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15
Since conflict within the family can be very painful, God has given us clear instruc9ons how to avoid conflict:
4. Parents must not provoke their children. Ephesians 6:4
5. Grandparents are to delight in their grandchildren and share their wisdom with them. Prov. 17:6, Psalm 78:4-7.
6. There is to be no sexual contact of any kind between immediate family members. Levi9cus 18:6-18, 1 Timothy 5:2, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2
When the family aligns itself with the instruc9ons of God’s word, the poten9al for conflict diminishes.
When conflict does occur, the Bible passages given above tell us how to resolve conflict in our interpersonal rela9onships. The Chris9an must always be mindful of the uncondi9onal, self-giving, self-sacrificing love of God and make a conscious decision to deal with conflict in the family as God deals with His erring family members – with grace, love, forgiveness, pardon and jus9ce (righteousness).
To deal with conflict in a Christ-like manner will lead to healing and a healthy family rela9onship. To do otherwise will lead to dysfunc9onal family rela9onships.
Here are some Biblical guidelines for Chris9ans when faced with conflict in the family:
1. Surrender to Jesus daily so that you love as He loves. Luke 6:27-31, Gala9ans 2:20
2. Humble yourself under God. James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:6
3. Don’t run away from conflict; confront it with the goal of restoring rela9onships. And go in person. Ma`hew 5:23, 24; 18: 15, 16.
4. Be quick to listen. Start by asking, “What have I done to hurt you?” James 1:19, 20
is right. It means you value your rela9onship more than your ego”.
6. Speak the truth in love. This is par9cularly important when you have been hurt. Ephesians 4:15, 29.
7. Forgive freely. Remember that some9mes people ‘know not what they do’ to hurt you. Forgive as Christ forgave. Colossians 3:13
8. Make res9tu9on if needed. Exodus 22:3
faith. Ma`hew 18:16
10. Maintain the restored rela9onship. Do not avoid the other party. As far as it depends on you, ‘live at peace with everyone’ Romans 12: 18
Do not avoid conflict; in a world of sin, we will have conflict, even within the church and Chris9an families. Rela9onal conflict is not something that should surprise us as Chris9ans. We need not be ashamed that it exists, and that we’re
involved. We should expect it. The world is complicated and fallen, and we are complicated creatures, and fallen.
involved. We should expect it. The world is complicated and fallen, and we are complicated creatures, and fallen. Conflicts will come. They are unavoidable.
But running away from conflict only makes things worse. We should recognize that conflict is a great opportunity for God’s people to reveal the grace of God in their lives.
For the Christian, conflict is not something to avoid or ignore. It is an opportunity for the triumph of grace.
This is the way God does His deepest work in a world like ours. Not when all seems right with the world, not when times are easy. It’s the toughest times, the hardest conversations, the most painful relational tensions, when the light of His grace shines brightest, and transforms us most into His Son’s likeness.
The trajectory of Jesus’ life was toward need, and inevitably toward conflict, not away. He set His face like flint to go to Jerusalem, to the great conflict at Calvary, to rescue us from our greatest conflict, eternal separation from God because of the rebellion of our sin against him.
And so being saved by Him, we Christians, “little christs,” learn increasingly to follow in His steps, empowered by His Spirit, to move toward conflict, toward need, toward pain, toward tension, looking past the imposing awkwardness and difficulty that lies before us to the promise of joy on the other side. We take on the heart and posture of “the Lord’s servant” who “must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24–25). David Mathis.
And this I pray, that your love may abound sSll more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense Sll the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
Anger and the Chris)an:
Anger Can Be Righteous: Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin.” You express righteous anger by becoming angry about what angers God. Jesus was filled with righteous anger when He confronted the marketplace in the Temple (Ma`hew 21:12, 13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-47, John 2:13-16), and the Pharisees who were teaching the people and giving them false ideas of God’s character (Ma`hew 23).
Most anger however, is sinful, for it arises from a sinful heart.
Sinful anger can be expressed loudly and explosively, in silence and resentment or in irritability and exaspera9on. All such forms of anger are offensive to God.
Paul says, “Let not the sun go down on your wrath (indignaSon, exasperaSon)” Ephesians 4:26. He follows it up by saying“Do not give place to the devil” (4:27).
Anger is oken the fruit of fear; we are afraid of what we don’t know and people we don’t know. This fear is oken expressed as anger. The perfect love of God casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Sinful anger hurts rela9onships; man’s anger is expressed by rejec9ng God and pursuing his own way. In contrast, the God we worship is slow to anger. Exodus 34:6, Psalm 103:8-10.
The Lord is merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquiSes.
Man’s anger put Christ on the Cross. Yet at the Cross, man’s sinful anger was covered by the blood of Christ. 1 John 1:7
Sinful anger must be surrendered to God. God is not in the business of ‘anger management’ in the worldly sense i.e. controlling it to a level that is not perceived by the world and so making us socially acceptable. No, God ‘manages’ all sin and sinful behavior by removing it from our lives.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
Jesus died not only to free us from sinful anger but to enable us to be angry with God (about the things that anger Him), not at God. Is our anger expressed righteously or sinfully?
He who is slow to anger is beber than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 The discreSon of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. Psalm 37:8
If Thou, O Lord, should mark iniquiSes, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou may be feared. Psalm 130:3, 4
But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness…Nehemiah 9:17