Guest Blog by Ash Narayan, Author of Loving Through Conflict
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. However, the holidays also bring stress with added responsibilities that can drain our energy, not to mention our patience. For Christians, finding Jesus in the chaos of the holiday season can be difficult. The holidays elevate our passions which lead to conflicts with those whom we are in close relationship with and even share a common faith.
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. (James 4:1-2)
James explains that conflicts come from the “passions” that wage war in our hearts. At its core, the conflict is a heart problem. Rather than my heart being ruled by God and motivated by God’s honor, my heart is ruled by my wants, needs, and feelings. Fortunately, this is the same heart that has the capacity to look at others’ interests ahead of our own and the same heart that loves others the way God loves us. So when we position our hearts properly while we will not avoid or resolve all conflicts, we can undoubtedly love through conflict.
So, as we approach Christmas, we need to follow the wisdom of Proverbs 16:1 which declares “the preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Remember, conflicts come from the passions that wage war in our hearts. Therefore, preparing our hearts by fixing our eyes on Jesus will undoubtedly help us manage the chaos of the holidays. Our loving Lord is in control of any seemingly chaotic situation. God is sovereign; nothing is chaotic to Him. When you partner with Him, he will help you manage the chaos and be loving through any holiday conflicts.
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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