Learning the Hard Way

Today I find myself in the midst of a personal conflict.  I am not going to share what or who the conflict involves,  but I would like to share what I have learned.  Well, of what I am reminded.  This conflict has been on my mind and although I was hurt, I know that I could have avoided the hurt in a number of different ways.  Conflict takes at least two so all the blame cannot be placed on someone else.  I got to thinking about some Scripture that I had bookmarked in my Bible app and wanted to review it and copy it into a little journal for better access. This was today’s Verse of the Day:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

Well, if that don’t beat all.  I am certainly in a period of rebuking and correcting because my actions have not been in-line with the principles that I hold dear.  What I should have kept in mind is:

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.  Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” Proverbs 9:7-8 (NIV)

Please do not think I am calling anyone wicked or that I am calling myself particularly more clued into what right and good.  This verse reminds me that when trying to correct, or more humbly, alter, someone’s viewpoint it is best to have those types of discussions with one that is already seeking change.  That may seem counter-intuitive because the Christian’s main missive is to share the Good News, but that should be done by telling them of Christ’s love and letting God go about convicting their hearts of aspects of personality that need changing.  We all know there are “fruits of the Spirit”, but those fruits aren’t produced unless the Spirit is there.  My job in trying to make the world a better place is to live by example and let God take care of the rest.  I have not done so very well in this respect recently.

As we continue on the travels through verses I have tucked away, we come to these:

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; drop the matter before dispute breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14 (NIV)

“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook and insult.” Proverbs 12:16 (NIV)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)

I worked in the social services for a long time and, naturally, spent a lot of time working with angry young people and their parents. There were a couple phrases that we would say, typically to young people: “It is OK to be angry, but not OK to treat others badly.” And, “The only behavior you can control is your own.” These are both quite true and you can find Biblical support for these.  No matter how justified I am in my stance, encouraging dispute and reacting to personal insult is never acceptable.  This truth can be found here:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1: 19-20 (NIV)

I struggle with this because I have always been someone to speak up, quickly, when others are being treated poorly.  No, that does not imply that I do not or have not treated others poorly, but it is in my nature to speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves.  My current conflict has caused me to feel that I need to refrain from this more, but the following gives me heart and points me toward a better way of interacting:

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV, emphasis my own)

This conflict needs to be resolved and will be, eventually.  Through it all, I must always remember the forgiveness I have received through grace, undeserved and unearned.  I can do this by abiding the following admonishment:

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

Perhaps I should spend more time memorizing Scripture because things would have turned out much differently if I had remembered and heeded these words.  Or maybe, I needed this conflict to reinforce the lesson.  I had good intentions, but as they say, the road to Hell is paved with those.

 

Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/185210603397947836/

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9 thoughts on “Learning the Hard Way

  1. whyistherebreadinmykoolaid says:

    “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook and insult.” Proverbs 12:16 (NIV)

    “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

    “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)

    Oops. Guilty, guilty and guilty here, too. Thanks for the reminder on what we SHOULD be doing instead.

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  2. Let our conversation always be full of grace.
    That is a great reminder, and I’m sorry that you are struggling so, and hope that you find peace and resolution soon. And, in the meantime, I’ll send up a prayer for you!

    P.S. I agreed to lead this month’s ladies bible study… it’s been so many years since I’ve lead one that I have no clue what I’m supposed to do! And, it will be the first one I’ve attended since we started going to this church, so, uh, you want to send up a prayer for me, too? Maybe that my conversations on Thursday night will be full of grace? 🙂

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  3. these scriptures are perfect. I’ve been trying to throw out snap judgements of people and just give them a chance to open up to me and let myslef open up to them. It’s crazy how many wonderful people I’ve met after taking this open minded approach to others 🙂

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    • It is a very good way to be with other people. It can be difficult at times, but it is important to always remember to extend grace to everyone. Even those who treat us and others poorly. You know, turn the other cheek, and all 🙂

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  4. Those are wonderful scriptures, I think you needed this conflict to help you learn this lesson. It has taken me a looooong time to learn those lessons and I am still learning them. Marital therapy helped too. 😉 Most arguments are completely unnecessary. I hope your dispute is resolved soon!! xo

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