Have your heard the old quote, “To live above with saints we love, that will be glory. To live below with saints we know, that’s a different story.” Everyone experiences conflicts. The apostle Paul loved the Christians at Philippi. With a loving a tender heart he wrote from prison and urged them to “get along” and “be of the same mind in the Lord” Philippians 4:2-3. Whether you find yourself in a conflict with family, friends, co-workers, church members or neighbors, the Word of God can help you do your part.
What are the Practical Steps of Living in Harmony?
1) Understand God wants to be Glorified through my Conflict.
If nothing comes into my life without God’s permission (Romans 8:28), then God allowed this conflict for a purpose.
What is the purpose of this conflict?
A. To grow more patience in my life, James 1:2-4
B. To teach me lessons about myself, James 1:5
C. To glorify the Lord. Our example is Joseph – when his brothers sold him as a slave, they meant the offense for evil, but “God meant it for good,” Genesis 50:20.
Think of how you can magnify Christ in the problem. Do not focus on the problem, but on the Person of Jesus Christ. Put Christ first. Follow Christ Closely
2) Do My Part to Reconcile
A. Let it Go – “Charity (love) covereth a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8
“In essentials unity, In non-essentials diversity, In all things love.”
B. Forgive, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13
C. Be Loving, be Kind, and be Friendly, Romans 12:17-21
What are you supposed to do to your enemy? If he is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. Do not render evil for evil, but rather overcome evil with good. What did Jesus say we are to do to our personal enemies? Love them. We are commanded to love our enemies.
I told you it was going to be hard stuff, but it works. When you do what God tells you to do you are going to have joy and peace and less stress.
D. Go to them in a spirit of meekness, Galatians 6:1
A spirit of pride will always destroy relationships.
E. Accept the help of a mediator, Philippians 4:3
We are to help each other. You have to be a conflict resolver, a peacemaker, cultivating harmony all the time, endeavoring – striving- to keep the peace, Ephesians 4:3. Harmony in a church produces a loving environment and an atmosphere of maturity. What is the evidence? The ability to disagree in an agreeable manner.
If you need to blow off steam, go do it alone – don’t do it around family, friends, or coworkers. I tell people on our staff if they are in a meeting and people begin to get red in the face or raise their voice, I tell them to announce, “The meeting is over and we will reconvene when cooler heads prevail.” That’s Biblical.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Some have said, “But that’s not how I do it in my family, or that’s not how we did it at my old church.” It’s time to do it God’s way. Amen! From the Peanuts comic strip we find Lucy saying, “I’m Fine! The Rest of you Need Therapy!” And, “I can’t help thinking that this would be a better world if everyone would listen to me.” Do you have any Lucy’s in your family!
3) Grow Christ-like Attitudes in your Life
A. Humility, Philippians 2:5-8
Never forget that Jesus left heaven to serve and save you. God in Human flesh, set aside His glory to come into this world to be servant. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. That’s humility! As a servant He washed dirty feet. That’s love! That’s humility.
Our greatest role model for forgiveness is Jesus Christ. As He was being beaten and nailed to the cross, what did He say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34.
C. Learn how to get along with others.
Gallup did a poll of 500 heads of small and medium sized firms. The qualities they cited most frequently when asked what it takes to get ahead as a manager were: Education, 5%, leadership abilities, 11%, intelligence, 12%, industriousness, 24%, knowledge of business, 25%, integrity, 26%, and the top quality was the ability to get along with others, 35%. 1 in 3 said the #1 thing we are looking for in a manager is that they can get along with people.
They are business people who deal with customers for money and that is only temporal. The work of the Lord is a people ministry for souls that are eternal. You need to remember, Jesus died for people. Not angels, not animals, and not the environment. Before we even come to worship publicly, we are to make every attempt to reconcile any conflicts with others, Matthew 5:23-24.
Charles Spurgeon had a pastor friend, Dr. Newman Hall who wrote a book entitled, “Come to Jesus. Another pastor published an article ridiculing Newman Hall, who bore it patiently. But when the article gained popularity, Hall sat down and wrote a letter of protest. His article had stinging arrows that outdid anything in the article that attacked him. Before mailing the letter, Hall took it to his friend, Spurgeon, for his opinion. Spurgeon read it carefully then, handing it back, agreed that it was excellent and that the writer of the critical article deserved it all. “But” he added, “it just lacks one thing.” After a pause Spurgeon continued, “Underneath your signature you ought to write the words, ‘Author Come to Jesus.’” The two godly men looked at each other for a few minutes. Then Hall tore the letter to shreds.