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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. Shel Silverstein

Monday, December 27, 2010

Stand Up. Sit Down. Turn Around. Fight. Fight. Fight.

I wrote a previous post on letting go, but I have found that sometimes, letting go necessitates conflict. In order to open my hands to the joy God wants to give me, I have to let go of what I am holding on to, but to let go of what I am holding on to, I have to open my hands and reveal it. Keeping my hands closed may allow me to not deal with it, but it also prevents me from letting go and moving on.

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.


“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads."

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Romans 12:17-21

Conflict is such a difficult concept for me to handle. It involves confrontation 99% of the time and because I hate confrontation, 99% of the time I am involved in conflict, the confrontation is directed at me. It makes me anxious because I have no idea how God wants me to act in that moment.

Do I:

Stand up for myself?
Sit down and take it?
Turn around and walk away?
or Fight, fight, fight?

Then, I realized, this isn't about me. What do I do for me? No. It's about God. What do I do to honor God in this situation?

I am to stand up for God.
I am to humble myself.
I am to turn away from evil.
I am to fight with the fruits of the spirit.

But what do these things really mean?

Standing up for God means standing firm in your faith throughout the conflict and always reacting in a way that is pleasing to God, even when it gets tough. God has promised that it will all be well worth it.

When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end.

Matthew 10:22 (The Message)

You'll even be turned in by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. Some of you will be killed. There's no telling who will hate you because of me. Even so, every detail of your body and soul—even the hairs of your head!—is in my care; nothing of you will be lost. Staying with it—that's what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won't be sorry; you'll be saved.

Luke 21:16-19 (The Message)

Humbling myself means putting down my pride. Don't make accusations, don't make assumptions. If I do something wrong, I should take responsibility for it, but don't force someone else to take responsibility for what they did wrong. Its not my place to judge and criticize; it is only my place to honor God even if that means setting aside my pride.

Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, or criticize their faults. (The Message)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (NIV)

Luke 6:37

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.

Matthew 5:38-45

Turning away from evil means refusing to participate in the game of revenge. As long as I am standing up for God and acting only in ways that honor Him, I will have no need to justify my actions. I have to continue to allow my pride to be the sacrifice for peace. My faith has to be strong enough to know that God will stand up for me. I am so thankful to Him, because standing up for myself is the tricky part. The part that leads to more conflict. He gives us the easy job of standing up for Him, the perfect one, and in turn He takes the burden of standing up for me, the imperfect one. I just have to trust Him enough to allow Him to do it.

Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 34:14, 22

God has provided us with the tools we are to utilize throughout our lives and conflict is definitely no exception. There is no way to avoid conflict and argument. It is a necessary part of life that serves itself as a tool to bettering our relationships with spouses, family, friends, co-workers, etc.. As long as we "fight" using the tools God has provided us, "fighting" can be a great way to grow and find solutions that bring people closer together. The fruits that I need to integrate more into my tool belt when arguing is patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. And, definitely faithfulness that the solution will actually better the relationship instead of my usual pessimistic assumption that it will simply happen again.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

Okay so the conflict has been addressed, discussed, and solved. WHAT NOW?

Now, you can simply let go.

over and out.

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