I remember my dad telling me when I was younger, “you’re too judgmental.” I don’t remember exactly why he said that to me but I can guess. (I do remember just becoming a Christian and wanting to “help” other people know how they were. LOL. I’ve learned a lot since then! Mostly I’ve learned that there is a Biblical worldview and there is a ‘worldly’ world-view to everything. My content today is mostly geared towards those that call themselves Christians, so I come from that perspective. Hopefully everything I say and do comes across with a much better delivery than before even though it was all done in love- but sadly, it probably wasn’t given with the best of care and prayer.) I know I’ve held that label (being judgmental) in my mind for years and it’s still in there, along with other experiences, holding me back from speaking out. I realize I’ve tended to refrain from making any statements or taking any stands on anything because I didn’t want to be “judged” or to cause someone to take offense and not like me. That was my thinking before, that is until I saw that movie “War Room” years ago and that scene with the older lady and her lukewarm coffee really hit it home for me.
That scene is a great illustration of the Revelation 3:15-17 verses that say, “
‘ “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. ‘Revelation 3:15-17 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/REV.3.15-17
Now I realize it matters to use my voice but to use it well. I can go from not saying anything to swinging the other way and saying what doesn’t need to be said (by me) or saying things with NO LOVE. Speaking out with no love is just as wrong as being silent out of comfort or fear.
John 13:34-35 says, “‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ‘ John 13:34-35 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/JHN.13.34-35
So, how can we love one another (everyone around us) while things are heated up today?
Thankfully God did not leave us without an answer and an example. We can use Christ’s life as a guide. Philippians 2:1-11 has a lot to say, “
‘So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ‘ Philippians 2:1-11 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/PHP.2.1-11
Jesus led with humility. In every way and through every circumstance he was faced (remember how they treated him leading up to his crucifixion on the cross?) he did not revile in return. He was the same. That took a lot of self-control and focus on His overall purpose to not get distracted, and to continue to use compassion and humility and care while living and speaking the Truth in everything He did and said. I want to live like that too! It won’t be easy. In fact, it is impossible without the working of the Holy Spirit at work in my life and in the lives of others in the world. Only God can truly change hearts. We, or rather (I like to personalize things), I need to pray about this constantly. I pray for my own heart to be molded and shaped into God’s heart as well as the heart of other’s around me in the world. I pray for my willingness and obedience to follow Jesus’s way verses my own way. Lord help me.
So, when you put yourself out there or when you don’t either way you will see or experience conflict with other people. It is just the way it is. Jesus didn’t avoid it and neither should I. God is using this shaping, although it can be painful, to produce good things. I have learned a LOT from each negative experience I have had in my life. I guess, not all conflict is negative, but it certainly doesn’t feel good to me. I think, “Isn’t there a better way, God?!?!” But I know that these lessons STICK and teach quickly like no powerpoint presentation can. Jesus is our great Teacher but He doesn’t stop there.
John 13:12-17 says, “‘When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. ‘ John 13:12-17 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/JHN.13.12-17
So as we interact with others in the world, whether they are Christians or not, we must honor God as Holy and respond to others with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15-16) Who we are and how we respond is not dependent upon who they are or what they do/say to us but on who GOD IS. Why? Because Christians follow Jesus’ example in every way. (If doesn’t hurt to read the gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke & John again to refresh our memories. And then to continue reading the rest of the Word of God as well.) Now I know that this can be hard to hear but it is still true. (If I am wrong, please comment and let me know.) 1 Peter 2:23 says about Jesus, “‘When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. ‘ 1 Peter 2:23 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/1PE.2.23 Actually, reading 1 Peter 2:13-25 is good (as well as the entire Bible! But we have to start somewhere, so this is just a suggestion).
Dealing with Conflict
Here is a resource that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND listening to to hear a discussion about EMBRACING CONFLICT. I thank God for bringing it to my attention yesterday and I want to share it with all of you. I hope you take a listen and let me know your thoughts when you do. (Or let them know!!! I am so thankful for how God works through His people all around the world!!)
You can listen to this podcast episode “Embracing Conflict” by “Thirty Minutes with The Perrys” here! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/embracing-conflict/id1458672189?i=1000473764747. As I said, I am just getting to know her husband Preston Perry, but from hearing their story in the “How We Met” episode and the things he shares as they talk together, I am just thankful for God worked and to see how He is obviously working through their marriage and ministries, both together and individually!
I went live on IG to talk about this here:
And here is the blog I mentioned that I published before about Jackie Hill Perry here: Revive Our Hearts – Jackie Hill Perry – deception of woman .
There is benefit in engaging authentically with the world around me/us. As I more and more put my true self out there, I will get hurt. I will be misunderstood. I will get things wrong. But I’m trying and I’m growing. God is continuing to use these things for His glory and for that- it is worth it. Also, it is worth it to speak out and share the Truth of God with others. It just needs to be done in the right way, with humility and obedience as if unto our Lord. May I also extend the same grace and forgiveness that Jesus gave me as well as I remember from where I’ve grown and come from (and I know I still continue to learn and grow today!) I KNOW that I’m a work in progress so I wanted to share with you what God is doing. I pray that it blesses and encourages you in your own journey with God. God bless you.