Have you ever failed a test? I did recently. How did I fail, you may ask, and how does this tie in with the names of God? Read on.
Conflict is a fact of life, but how we deal with it defines our emotional and spiritual maturity. I recently fell under criticism sprinkled with untruths from someone I truly care about … my failure was in getting defensive. I took on the mantra that I had to stop shoving things under the carpet or I'd become a carpet dweller. But after refreshing myself with Scripture … I know I failed the test and needed God's loving grace.
I didn't have to jump to my defence, I merely had to have faith enough to believe God is who He says He is … MY DEFENDER. This name of God is found in Proverbs 23:11 NIV… and means exactly what it says. "Our Defender is strong: and He will take up our case." When we are unjustly or judgementally accused, we have a Defender. "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:14 NKJV
The whole idea of "not" defending oneself rubs against natural instinct, but it is both peaceful and logical in most cases. Not because I said so, (and not that I followed this sound advice) but because Jesus said so. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27-28 NIV
2 Timothy 2:23-26 encourages us to "Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing they generate strife, for a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth." NKJV My hurt—caused me to jump to my own defence and speak with a lack of humility when Scripture was used out of context. I corrected that person with pride.
I Peter 2:23 says: When He (Jesus) was reviled, (meaning, a person speaks with contemptuous language, or abusively) He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him (God our Defender) who judges righteously." NKJV I could have chosen to maturely take the issue to God, ask Him to reveal any area that needs work (because most criticism has a nugget of truth) and then dissect what to keep instead of throwing it all to the wind.
In this case the message was sent via email and I responded the same way. Email and text messaging is not an effective way to tackle sensitive communication. These type of conversations are best done in person or if there is distance involved (as in this case) talk over the phone. I will no longer communicate with the written word when wounded, for I want others to see my heartbeat and feel my love above all else.
There is no way to force someone to hear or understand when they choose not to, but a loving response is a powerful antidote both to ward off bitterness and to make an inroad for future restoration. Proper conflict resolution takes the bravery to engage in honest dialogue. However, there are times to speak up and times to take the high road and remain silent, especially if reason and common sense has not prevailed in the past. If a person is judgemental, irrational, and does not want to engage in reasonable conflict resolution, allow Jesus to be your Defender. God knows and understands the hurt. Jesus is at the right side of God praying, and He cares deeply. Psalms 34:18 promises …"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit."NKJV
I forfeited two gifts when I placed words upon page and defended myself ...
"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22 NIV
Had I kept my words of defense to myself and chosen prayer as Matt. 5:44 encourages, whatever reward the Lord had planned would have been realized. I pray next time I will be wiser and I will not forfeit THE REWARD.
1 Peter 3:8,9 "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." NIV I forfeited A BLESSING because in my heart I did not project a blessing. My main goal was to make that person understand my heart, my motives, me, but instead things got worse. Peter Scazzero says it best in the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (which is a great read on this subject.) "We often forget our humanity, our limits, and our inability to change others."
To stand firm and confident in the Father's love and in His leading, without taking offence is of great value. To remain silent until that person is interested in true relationship is wisdom. If they are attacking and unwilling to resolve the conflict, the answer is clear—stay clear. Romans 16:17-18 says … "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them." NKJV This doesn't mean I have a ticket to write this person off. NO, it means I pray for them and love them as Luke 6:27-28 encourages. And above all, I must make sure I do not let bitterness take control so that I am ready to embrace relationship when it is once again safe to do so ... when resolution and restoration is in their heart.
Great tips for conflict resolution include:
Pray first. Listen well. Don't interrupt. Recap the other person's thoughts to make sure you understand their heart. Think the best of them. Judge not. And leave room for the fact we are all imperfect.
And so, I conclude … we live, we learn, we have a wonderful Defender. Let's go about our week calling upon our Defender when we need one. Don't take the long road around to this conclusion like I did, and grapple to make yourself understood and heard when that other person is not ready. Instead, cry out to the One who is … our true Defender ... to the One who truly does understand.
Quote: "Satan greatly approves our railing at each other, but God does not. C.H. Spurgeon
Other Names of God:
1) Elohim-God - October 1, 2018
2) Abba Father - October 15, 2018
3) El Shaddai - October 22, 2018
4) The Truth - October 28, 2018
5) The Alpha & Omega - Nov. 5, 2018
6) Jehovah-Shalom - Nov. 12, 2018
7) God of All Comfort - Nov. 19,2018
8) The Rock - Nov. 26, 2018
9) Our Maker - Dec. 3, 2018
10) Our Defender - Dec.10, 2018