When I was a child I had a simplistic view of conflict, and conflict resolution. The person who did something wrong should apologize and then the conflict would be over. As I have grown up I have realized that life is not always that simple. To be sure there are times when one does offend another and so they should seek to be forgiven, however there are some conflicts that arise not from blatant sin, but from two or more people coming together and having a disagreement about the proper course of action. When doing various projects with my dad I have learned that although we are similar we can have different ways of doing things. For example when moving furniture he might rotate it to the left while I rotate it to the right. Although my dad is much more experienced than me, and most of the time he is right, I have to say that there a few times when either his way or my way could have worked. Conflicts arise from situations like this. A similar situation could be in the disciplining of a child. There are multiple ways to discipline a child and some ways are more effective for certain children at certain times than others. Because of this parents can disagree about how the discipline their children in particular situations. If a child fails a test should he grounded for the weekend or should he be given some grace but the parents inquire about his school work more? The truth is there are times when one option would be better, however both options are good in their own way. These types of conflicts can tough for families because there is no wrong person in these situations, there is no one right solution, and thus figuring out what should be done can lead to trouble. What do we do when these conflicts arise? There is no one answer to this question, but perhaps I can give some good tips for dealing with these conflicts when they arise. 1. You must understand that you are both sinners. I put this one first because for me it is something that I can quickly forget in the middle of a conflict. I get a sense of self-righteousness about myself and I can forget that I am a sinner. It's important to remember that you are sinner because you are a sinner, but it can also lead you to ask the question of if you are driving by some kind of sinful desire such as the desire to be right, or to win an argument. I am often tempted to be this way during confrontations, and it is something both members should be aware of. 2. Remember the work of Christ (Philippians) In the book of Philippians Paul explains that believers should view others more highly than they do themselves taking on the attitude of Christ who was equal with God, but did not consider this something to be grasped, but instead made himself low taking on the form of a slave and being obedient even to death on the cross. When we are not dealing with issues of doctrine, truth, and things clearly laid out in scripture we should be willing to ask ourselves the question, "What does it cost to be right?" There are issues worth fighting for, but there are also issues that aren't worth fighting about and it is in these times that if we view others are more important than us, then not only can be lead to peace faster, but we can move in a spirit of love and humility, rather than a spirit of pride of pride and bitterness. 3. Remember the gospel. It is important that we remember that we have been forgiven through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have been forgiven our sins. In every aspect of life we should always recall what Jesus has done for us. The gospel is not just for unbelievers, it is for believers as well. The gospel is what continually sanctifies the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers if we are going to handle conflict in our homes, communities, churches, and even our world we must keep going back to the work of Jesus on the cross. That act of love, humility, justice, and righteousness is what should be what sets the tone for our lives every single day. What do you think? How do you deal with conflicts where there is not a clear right and wrong? What did you think of this blog? Comment below and let me know, and as always thanks for stopping by.
Ever since the supreme court has redefined married to be between two consenting adults rather than a man and woman, I have seen a vast amount of comments on facebook and twitter regarding this issue. My addiction to electronics aside I couldn't help be notice the vast amount of self-righteousness coming from people of both sides. I've seen posts like, "God honors my marriage, soon you and all your bigoted people will be forced in the closet" and posts like, "You are a perverted person only interested in twisting God's word to suit your own ends" I've seen all kinds of posts talking about how America is one step closer to becoming this magical utopia where skies are filled with rainbows and everyone is happy and I have seen posts predicting that America will be the next home of the Nazis in less than 5 years. Perhaps what I have seen the most of is professing Christians on both sides calling for the other to repent. Now some of you who are reading this might think that I am one of those who aim to walk down the middle of the road, and this is an article about how Christians on both sides should not worry about these issues because God loves us all. Rest assured I am not that person, and this is not that article. This article is a calling out to myself, and to everyone else who has gotten more self-righteous rather than righteous which has expressed itself in the issue of homosexuality. There is an important difference between self-righteousness and righteousness. That difference is understanding where one's righteousness comes from which is not from ourselves, but from Jesus Christ. No one, again no one is righteous through themselves. We are all thieves, perverts, adulterers, gossipers, murderers, or in short sinners. All of us have done wrong and desire to do wrong, and have desired to do wrong. We are imperfect, we have missed the mark, so there is not one person who should dare claim to be righteous because if they do they are liar and the truth is not in them. All of us have sins we are guilty of and should feel ashamed over, but many Christians have become too busy arguing with each other which conveniently leads them to ignore their sin, just as the flesh desires. One is not righteous because they support same-sex marriage. One is not righteous because they support traditional marriage. One is righteous because the Son of God came and died on the cross taking on the full wrath of God, conquering sin and death and granting to those who are united to Christ through faith His righteousness. Being united to Christ through faith means repenting or turning away from your sins, no longer desiring to do what is evil in God's sight, but wanting to do what is good. It also means trusting in Jesus Christ. Believing that it is Jesus who has saved you and will bring the good work that He started in you to completion. As Christians if we only call people to repent, then we have given them only half of the command. We must call for them to repent and to trust in Jesus Christ if we are going to give the the full command of God. We must also make sure that is true for ourselves as well. Have you repented of your sins, and are trusting in Jesus Christ? Professing Christians on both sides of this argument need to repent and trust in Jesus. There are several sins that Christians in support of traditional marriage must repent of. They should repent of not being as loving as God has commanded. They should repent of being self-righteous rather than trusting in Christ. They should repent of waiting until this moment to start to care about the sanctity of marriage. They should repent of not speaking the truth in love, but of speaking the truth to win an argument, caring not for the edification of brothers and sisters in Christ, but to make themselves feel important as they defend the faith. If you're not guilty of any of these sins, then repent of the sins you are guilty of. I was picking sins that I need to repent of. If you are Christian in support of same-sex marriage there are sins that you should repent of. You should repent of proclaiming a false witness against God. Scripture is clear on this issue, and for a man to have sex with another man or a woman to have sex with another woman is sin in the eyes of God. You have promoted that your brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction should not practice self-control which is a fruit of the Spirit, but have encouraged them to engage in sinful activity. You have also spoken not with love but with hate towards Christians who understand that sex persevered for husband and wife, not merely spouse and spouse. You have sought to create confusion over God's word rather than trusting it. You are guilty of trying to justify sin rather than confessing it to God. For these sins Christians on both sides are called to repent, and put their trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. Let us not have righteousness in ourselves for we know that self-righteousness does not honor God, nor does it lead to salvation. Instead let us trust in the righteousness that has been given to us by Jesus Christ and let us seek to live lives that reflect that righteousness, and trust in Christ, not ourselves. Jesus has died for our sins. He will grant us victory over them. It is because of how good Jesus is that we can be righteous, and so let's seek to be righteous. The righteous Christian is one that trusts in the mercy of God. The righteous Christian is one that does not speak from position of being better than his neighbors, but speaks like one beggar telling another beggar where to find food. The righteous Christian loves not because of how good he is, but loves because God first loved him. Let us seek to be the righteous Christian. What do you think? What did you think of this blog? Comment below and let me know. Thanks for stopping by.
Life is full of failure. Failure is word that we don't hear often in the world today, and it seems like our culture is going out of its way to make sure that people never feel like a failure. It hurts to fail. If you've played any sports you know how it feels to work so hard to win the game only to lose in the end. Every student knows what it is like to fail in school, even if they never received a failing grade everyone has gotten a grade that they hoped would have been higher. Perhaps Christians are the ones who deal with the most failure. Not only are we told that most people will reject the gospel when we tell it to them, but Christians deal with failure in their own life every single day. Christians fight against sin. If a Christian is not struggling against various sins in their life, then it is fair to say that that person should reevaluate their salvation because they may be a false convert. As Christians struggle against sin, if they are honest with themselves they will come to learn something real quick and that is they fail a lot. There isn't a Christian alive who can't relate to Paul in Romans 7. When one really takes a look inside themselves they see just how wicked and depraved they really are. Now it's true that as one becomes a more mature Christian they learn to love their neighbor more, however Christians will always struggle against the wicked thoughts they have. Because we still have a sinful flesh we deal with sin, and often times will fail and have the feeling of misery afterwards. So what do we do when we fail? For this it is important to go to the book of 1 John. In 1 John 2:1 John writes, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin, but if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ the Righteous One." John is making it clear that the goal of Christians should be to not sin. In this way Christians should never be comfortable with their sin, nor should they be totally comfortable in this life, as they can always do better, and be better since they still have a sinful body. John then points us to where we should look if we do sin, and that is we should look to Jesus Christ the righteous one. The reason for this should be clear, but in case it isn't Christians look to Jesus when they fail because he is the one that will bring them to success. It is because of Jesus that we have a desire to fight against sin, and it is Jesus who is the one that will save us, not just from the consequences of sin, but from the sinful desires themselves. I have found that as I focus on the goodness of Christ, and the grace I have been given in Christ Jesus I want to love my neighbor more and I hate my sin more, and fight harder against it. I am not looking to my own strength or skill but to the one who has beaten sin and death. As Christians we must understand that we are not the heroes of this story, we are the ones in distress. The true Christians understands their need for salvation and continually puts their trust in the one who has saved them, Jesus Christ. The true Christian can deal with failure because they know that the son of God has not failed, and this is part of the process of us to stop thinking so much about ourselves, and focus on Christ which will in turn lead us to love our neighbors more. The true Christian can admit that they have failed, they can be honest about their sin and call it what it is, make not excuse for it, and does not justify it. From here we cling through faith to Jesus who will cleanse us from it. We have tried to save ourselves time and again, and we have failed over and over, so we learn our victory does not come from us, it comes from Jesus Christ. The same can be said for each time the church meets with a failure. We should look to the one who has won, and to the one who was and is and is to come. With recent news some people would see that church has failed in a big way, and I'm sure many Christians right now are dealing with feelings of hopelessness and the sting of failure, but we do not sit in our own self pity, we do not lie down and admit defeat, we look to and cling to our savior to our king, the one that will come and judge the earth and make right what went wrong. Jesus has died for the church, and has risen again. We must continually look to Jesus each time we fail, and we must trust in his word that he who began a good work in us will see it through to completion. Christians fail, and fail often, but Christ has succeeded, and thankfully the truth of Christianity is not dependent upon Christians, but Christ.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor