Humble Thyself: 7 Steps to Resolve Conflict
By Susan K. Stewart
A recent undercurrent of discontent infected our congregation. I’d developed a terrible attitude about the situation, and I sat trying to be attentive for the sermon titled: Resolution: The Mathew Solution. I missed it.
During the following week, God led me to James 4:7-10. My heart opened to the clear steps to resolving conflict.
- Submit to God
No matter the circumstances, submit to God. Ask for his wisdom to see the truth, not the colored viewpoint of humans. Be willing to follow him … wherever it may lead.
- Resist the devil
As we submit to God, we resist the devil. But the attacks will continue during the peacemaking process. Satan wants to convince us we aren’t at fault and that following God’s way is troublesome, a lot of work, and a hindrance to the outcome we want.
- Draw near to God
The more we resist the devil, the closer we draw near to God. As we move closer to him, the better able we are to resist the devil, remove our own desires and submit to his.
- Cleanse your hands
We’ve become ingrained with Mt. 18—go to the one who has sinned against you. Instead we should be looking at our own sin. “First take the log out of your own eye” (Mt. 7:5 NASB). We need to face our own sin before we confront anyone else’s.
- Purify your heart
The goal of conflict resolution is reconciliation with God. To approach a solution to the friction, our own hearts need to be clean. This is done by seeking to please God, not other people. Not everyone will be happy, but God will be delighted.
- Be miserable and mourn and weep
Sin is the root of strife and we should be saddened and repentant. As we submit to God’s authority and purify our hearts, we come to realize how destructive our own sin is in the conflict.
- Humble yourself
Humility isn’t weakness; it’s the opposite of pride and admits we can do nothing on our own. When pride takes hold, we think we have the solution to any problem. But only God is the true peacemaker.
The next time conflict resolution is the topic, remember James’s steps to peacemaking. Resolve the strife in yourself, and then you’ll be prepared to help others.
Is there a conflict in your life? How will you follow James’s steps to resolve it?
When she’s not tending chickens and donkeys, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers and listeners with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. Contact Susan to speak to your group her website www.practicalinspirations.com.
By Shirley Johnson
Charlotte loved to work in her garden in the morning. She could hear the morning birds greet the day with a song. The refreshing dewdrops found rest upon the garden. The flowers seemed to smile back at the sun.
Charlotte worked hard at maintaining the presentation and growth of the garden. She knew with the proper care it would not only look beautiful, but create a peaceful atmosphere for those viewing it. From childhood, she knew which of the elements and garden intruders can interfere with the presentation and growth of the garden and which are harmless.
The garden often ministered to Charlotte. She embraced the seasons of the garden. It often shared reflections of life and whispers of hope.
While working in the garden a ladybug crawled on her sleeve. There was a time many years ago if this happened she would have panicked. She smiled and laughed to herself. She thought back to when she was a very small child. She was with her mom visiting at their friend’s home. The porch provided a favorite play area. Somehow a ladybug crawled right where she sat. She cried out to her mom for help.
Charlotte’s mom came running in response to her cries. While Charlotte saw a big intruder, her mother saw a simple little ladybug. “Oh, Charlotte.” “It’s okay,” said her mom. Her mom had gardened a long time and knew the difference between a harmless bug and dangerous ones. “This is just an innocent little bug that somehow landed in the wrong place.” She calmly scooped up the ladybug with her gentle hands, opened the screen door, and let it go.
Life’s seasons have a way of presenting itself with different problems. There are times when we have real problems, big problems that we need to face, address and solve. Sometimes though, we have little irritations that invade our space. They land right where we sit in life. They have us talking, repeating, agonizing and spinning our wheels. They interfere and distract us from the purpose and plan in our lives. They “bug” us.
When those little irritations land in our space,
look at them and determine how big they are.
Perhaps there are times when we too must open the screen door and let them go.
Shirley Johnson shares inspiration and encouragement through her writing. She is a member of SCBWI and ACFW. She loves to read and has volunteered at her local Public Library as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She shares her writing on her blog. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.