“The overflow of God’s love into our relationship with others is the foundation of Christian relationships. The strength of this foundation determines the strength of our relationships to carry us through conflicts.”
Guest Blog by Ash Narayan, Author of Loving Through Conflict
A relationship with God begins with knowing God which is different than knowledge of God. We know God when we develop a personal relationship with Him. It is a lifetime pursuit that requires regular, if not daily, commitment. We seek to know God when we listen to His word, when we appreciate and follow His character, when we are obedient to His commands, and when we recognize and rejoice in His love for us. Just as we seek to know God the Father, we should also seek to know God the Son. To know Jesus, a person’s whole lifestyle, value system, speech, and attitude are marked by surrendering to Christ as Lord of your life. To know Jesus is to not just believe in Him but to follow Him.
Loving God is our response to knowing God. When we know the Father and the Son, we are transformed, and our hearts are open to respond in love. Just as we come to know God and grow in our love for Him, our relationship with others will benefit from the same process. As we seek to know each other, we develop deep durable relationships that imitate God’s love.
When we know God and grow in our relationship with Him, we begin to love God the same way He unconditionally loves us. That love then overflows into our relationships, growing and strengthening them. Strong relationships can endure conflicts with love as the foundational rock.
Loving Through Conflict
By Ash Narayan
Politics, social justice, the COVID-19 pandemic, church ministry, and marriages are just a small sample of the myriad of issues causing division across the world today. Never before are Christians more divided on these issues and others. In addition, an emerging trend that has created tension and division among Christians is centered on ideology. Christianity’s fundamental beliefs and truths are no longer commonly accepted. Movements such as social justice and moral relativism dominate academia and the teaching and culture of the younger generation. These progressive movements are the cause of substantial conflict among Christians who steadfastly proclaim their love for the same God. While conflicts are inevitable and have existed since the Fall, what is troubling is how Christians are managing conflicts.
Conflicts, if left unresolved, rob us of the joy that healthy relationships bring. While conflict resolution is a laudable goal, many conflicts will be left unresolved. Accordingly, we need to address a different reality. As Christians, we need to learn to live well with each other in and through our conflicts. Jesus modeled essential principles such as compassion, kindness, empathy, humility, gentleness, and patience, all of which help us face conflict.
More importantly, Jesus is the conduit of God’s overflowing love. Love is relationship glue. When Christians love each other well with commitment and perseverance, they can avoid many of the conflicts illustrated. When any relationship experiences conflict, love can preserve, redefine, and strengthen the relationship, even if the underlying issue that caused the conflict is not resolved. God is all about relationships and wants to teach you how to be Loving Through Conflict.
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