I live in a country where dealing with conflicts directly is not the order of the day. There is a culture of shame, so when confronted about a problem many times persons choose to lie. Or they choose to discuss the grievance with others re-telling it to anyone who will listen. The result is harboured unforgiveness, mistrust, gossip and hypocrisy.
We all do it
Although it is social norm here it is not limited to this culture. Evaluate yourself for a moment. What do you do when you have an issue with a friend, coworker, or church member? Is your first reaction to find another friend and lay it all out to them? Then what?
If you are like most people it becomes a discussion topic for both of you, never being addressed with the person that you had the issue with. Any further grievances are stock piled and drawn for whenever the accused missteps in any way. Now you two make side glances when the other person is around snickering and making “inside jokes”, comments or sounds even in the presence of the person.
Or maybe you are the person that goes from person to person to get “advice” about what to do. Soon several people know your issues with this person which many times is embellished and one-sided.
These individuals are now walking around with a skewed vision, true or not, and it begins to affect how the person is perceived or responded to. Nothing gets fixed and seeds of discord spring into trees of disunity.
Deal in Love
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Jesus expressed to the disciples that it was our love that would let persons know we are Christians. One passage even says it’s our unity that would lead persons to Jesus. It was Peter who encouraged us have “unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1Peter Chapter 3, Verse 18).
God knew that when we don’t operate with integrity, honesty and openness fueled by love our community would fold and crumble, or at best walk with a painful limp. It is love that the Bible says covers a multitude of sins.
Put Up or Shut Up
How is this possible if we don’t deal directly with problems we have with each other? How can there be unity if things are not resolved? Shame, fear, pride - none of it helps. Instead it provides a breeding ground for all sorts of issues, a big one being gossip and being judgmental.
I can’t tell you how many times a quick whispered prayer and a firm resolve has steered me in the direction of facing issues with people which in the end (for me at least) kills the issue at the root.
When I don’t talk to the person then I talk to everyone else about the person. When I talk to the person, I have no more need to speak to anyone else about it. It’s resolved, we have addressed the problem and I have no desire to drag the person through public hanging. Do they all respond favourably? Not at all! But that is not my responsibility. My job is to live out what I am called to.
Honestly, when your heart is in a place that is motivated by love for God, even when the person does not respond in a manner that shows remorse or that they are being candid, you are given the grace of God to maintain peace in your heart. It’s a splendid reality that I have experienced first-hand.
Psalm 133 verse 1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” How pleasant and good it would be if each of us took on the task of living this out without regard for advocating for others to do it as well!
David says that it would be so pleasant that it would command a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 133 verse 3)
Stacy-Annâ âSmithâ â-â âisâ âdoingâ âmissionsâ âinâ âIndonesiaâ âandâ âisâ âaâ âchildâ âtherapist.â âSheâ âis
involvedâ âwithâ âchildren'sâ âministryâ âandâ ââ âworkingâ âgirlsâ âhasâ âaâ âheartâ âtoâ âteachâ âthemâ âthe
waysâ âofâ âtheâ âLord.
Stacy-Annâ âSmith’sâ âpreviousâ âarticlesâ âmayâ âbeâ âviewedâ âat http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/stacy-ann-smith.html