"...Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness,
humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults and
forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must
forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together
in perfect harmony."1
We were created to be in relationships. First and foremost,
with God, then with others. However, relationships are not always easy. At
times we may find ourselves in messy situations where it is difficult to
navigate what our next step should be. It is important to remember that our
goal is to glorify God with our words and actions despite the situation. There
may be times where we find ourselves going round and round with the same arguments,
which can cause discouragement and make us want to give up. But before giving
up, I have learned to step back and take a "time out" in silence. When you
remove yourself from a heated conversation, you prevent yourself from saying
something in anger that you shouldn't have said. Sitting quietly with Jesus,
away from the emotions and frustration, is many times just what we need to
untangle the mess.
During the time of silence at Jesus's feet, we can ask God
for wisdom and for clarity to understand the situation. We can humble ourselves
and ask for God to show us our part in the problem, and for direction on our
next action. Understanding that each person is in different seasons of life and
spiritual growth can help produce patience and gentleness as we choose how to
speak to them. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that, "a soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger." I can tell you from experience that whoever
said "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" was
lying! Words can leave invisible wounds that are hard to heal. Therefore, it is
important to choose our words wisely as we seek to solve conflict.
After spending this time with God, we can be sure that He
is in control, and he will make the solution clear. When we make every effort
to handle conflict well, it takes the pressure off of having to make everything
turn out well. Many relationships grow stronger through times of conflict, as
they learn to understand and appreciate the differences. Other relationships,
however, will come to an end. The only person we can control is ourselves, so
as long as we are acting in love and seeking God's guidance, we can leave the
outcome up to Him. We can rest knowing that God is working good things in us
and through us.
Suggested prayer: Lord, during difficult situations I ask
that you help me remember to step back and spend some quiet time with you. Help
my words and actions be glorifying to you and help me trust you with the
outcome. Replace my anxiety with your peace and give me wisdom in all things.
In Jesus's name, amen.
Today's Encounter was written by: Crystal B.