Consider the following scenario (From Resolving Everyday Conflict)
Jim comes from from work. He seems sullen and distracted. Susan's had a hard day herself: she got home late from work, realized that she had forgotten to plan for dinnner, and now Jim sticks his head into the kitchen wondering how much longer dinner will be.
Sam is playing a game, finally seeming to get through the level he has wanted to beat for a while. If he completes this level, he can unlock the next item for the game. His mom calls. Did he do his chores? Or, it's time for supper.
What responses would not glorify God (and likely be the Spark, Fuel or Oxygen of a conflagration)?
What responses would glorify God (and be a "Holy" fire extinguisher)?
Let's just assume it erupts into a conflict. What are the responses to that conflict?
I "can't" deal with this. I don't want to have this.
I will win this. I will beat you.
Both are focused on Me
Last week week, we started down this road of going Higher. Lifting up our heads to see above the fog of war, to look for what God is doing, and how we can honor and glorify Him.
We mentioned the first path to peace is to show Mercy. Is this something that I can overlook. God has often shown mercy to me. Can I in this situation show mercy.
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
However, we mentioned that there are situations where we cannot just overlook an offense:
When you relationship is damaged. You cannot truly let it go without working it out.
Other peoplewill be hurt
The offender will be hurt by their actions
God is being dishonored
In those conflicts, we need to look at other pathways to Peacemaking.
So, where to we start?
The place to start is still, Going Higher.
How do I honor and glorify God in this situation?
Our main verse for today is:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
The context of this verse is an area of conflict...
If we were to work our way through the letters to the Corinthians, we would find that they were dealing with a lot of conflicts.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 - Greetings and Blessings. Reminder of the blessings they have in Christ!
Then, verse 10.
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?
Reading between the lines of chapter 4, there were people who were proud, and opposed Paul... Conflict again.
Conflict over how to handle immorality within the church in Chapter 5, and in chapter 6, exhortation that believers should not be taking believers to court, but rather have other Christians render judgment.
Chapter 7, conflict over whether to marry, or allow their daughters to marry. Also, conflict over how to live when there are problems in marriage.
How can you eat that?! It was sacrificed to an idol.
Chapter 8, whether to eat food that was sacrificed to idols. I love the verse...
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
Chapter 9, Paul's defense against those who oppose him.
Chapter 10 about being careful of others, so as to not offend.
Chapter 11, conflict within the body as they do not care for one another around the communion table.
In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.
1 Corinthians 12, conflict over differing gifts and roles in the body.
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
Then we come to 1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Gifts of speaking, gifts of declaring God's word, teaching others, have great faith, having knowledge and giving are great, but what we need is love.
Paul Tripp - 90% of the women in the church would love to be married to me... to which his wife responded, I am in the other 10%.
The Corinthians had a lot of conflict, in a lot of areas. That is what led Paul to write our key verse for the day to them.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
So, what does it mean to glorify God?
To glorify God, bring Him glory and honor we need to think the way He would have us think. We need to do what He would have us do. Say what He would have us say.
How would He have us think? How would He have have us feel? What would He have us say and do?
then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
He would have us think like He does, feel as He does, speak as He does, act as He does.
You have likely heard the expression, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
I think imitation is the sincerest form of glorifying / honoring God.
We need to look to Him, and see how He would have us act, even in conflict.
How did God deal with conflict? He did He think, feel, speak and act toward us, His enemies?
I believe Titus 3:3-7 captures how He thought, felt, acted and spoke to us.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Not giving what is deserved
Laying down rights for what I want - God does not desire that anyone perish...
Laying down right for immediate satisfaction - God looked over sin until the time Christ came
Laying down rights.
Not giving them what they deserve.
Giving what is undeserved
What can I do for them, even though they do not deserve it?
Do everything in love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
How can I show love to them, now?
We will be focusing on Forgiveness in a few weeks. But Forgiveness begins in the heart. It begins as an attitude before it becomes an action that is extended toward another.
When in conflict, I know I can very easily feed either bitterness, or forgiveness.
Feed it with my thoughts. What I choose to dwell on.
So what do you think? Ready to go out this week and Go Higher?
Ready to Glorify God in all situations, even in conflict?
This is impossible!
It is impossible for me!
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The first step in Peacemaking, when something cannot be overooked, is to Go HIGHER. Focus on God, and how He has Manifested Mercy, Given Grace, Lavished Love, and Fed Forgiveness. Look to Him, and pray. Pray for Him to change our hearts to be like His so that we will be people after His own heart.
When in Conflict, Go Higher and ask God to change your heart to Manifest Mercy, Give Grace, Lavish Love and Feed Forgiveness as He did.
That is our homework for this week. Let's fall to our knees and ask God to change our hearts in conflict.