25 Oct 2013 by Mindy Oon CM-
1 Peter 3:11 says, ‘Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]’
This verse says we can’t merely desire peaceful relationship, but we have to PURSUE them. This does not mean that we can’t (or won’t) disagree. We are all different and unique, and each one of us are quirky in our own way. It is natural to have disagreements, and it actually okay to disagree if we can learn to do it respectfully. Because we need to avoid strife.
Strife can be defined as ‘bickering, arguing, or heated disagreement, angry undercurrent.’ It is one of the most dangerous threats to the body of Christ, and is designed to destroy relationships, marriages, and even churches. The Bible in Song of Solomon 2:15 describes the problem of strife as the little foxes that sneak into the vineyard and spoils all the grapes. If strife is not confronted and dealt with, it can spread from person to person. Here are a few things to remember in order to make sure that strife does not ruin our relationship.
Remember that God Sees
We have all experience disagreements, and have had to deal with offences that come our way. It is not an easy thing to do, but we need to always release offences to God as it is dangerous to let negative, toxic emotions take root in our heart because it will affect us, and it will affect the way we treat people. God sees how we treat people, and He sees how we behave. We can’t be one way when we are at home, and putting on a religious front when we are with other Christians. We just can’t be phonies.
Keep A Humble Heart
When there is strife, there is pride. When there is an argument someone has to be humble and be the first person to apologize. According to Proverbs 13:10, ‘By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well advised is wisdom’ and Proverbs 29:23 says ‘A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.’
There will always be arguments, disagreements, even in the church. This is nothing new as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:2 ‘Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love; being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention’.
Unity is powerful. The Bible says that when two or three people agree, there is power. However, we will not be able to agree with all our hearts if we are angry and bitter at other people. We start building a wall between God and us when we are bitter, jealous and unforgiving. We will be unable to love as God does when we are resentful and bitter. However, we set ourselves free when we just release all these feeling to our Father in Heaven.
Stop Being Angry
Make a decision to stop being angry by letting God work in your life. God is good and He wants you to have peace, and joy. He wants you to have an abundant life. Ask Him to bring restoration and healing to your heart, and release those who have hurt you to Him. Anger affects us spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. I once heard a pastor liken staying angry and offended as holding a piece for burning coal. In the end, it will be the angry person who will suffer.
We need to make it a priority to forgive and live in peace with each other, and do not ever let strife ruin our relationships.
Reference for pictures: