One of the many concepts presented included knowing when to stand for something and when to walk away. In other words, I continually need to decide what hills I want to die on. What do I believe so strongly that I would risk my life for and refuse to compromise?
Some conflict has deep personal preferences at the root. Others are based on principles. For instance, if someone attacked my child, any resulting conflict within me would be rooted in personal desire — that is my child at stake. However, if I saw a stranger hurting a child in a public place, my response would be less about personal preference (like walking away) and more about principle such as justice, fairness, etc.
In Christian circles, there are a million opinions about how to live the Christian life, just as there are as many opinions about living life to the full outside the kingdom of God. We could argue over them, but this film series directs us to live in peace and find ways to settle our differences. The principles set forth came directly from Scripture. All have biblical examples and were illustrated with real life stories. I learned much.
I was also reminded that some people love to fight and others will avoid conflict at all costs. Depending on the situation, both methods could be right or wrong. I learned that there are occasions I should back down, but also times that I need to fight for either a principle or a way of acting because it is the right thing, not just something that I want but something that God wants.
For instance, a situation came up in our church where a sinning member needed to be disciplined. Some thought that this person should be tossed out of the church because the sin was so terrible. Others were of the opinion that we pray for that person and give God time to change things. In my mind, this was not a time to abstain from voting. Others may have been more concerned about our reputation as a congregation, but I strongly believed this person’s eternal well-being was at stake. I’d been praying about this for weeks, but it was a young woman who stood up and went to bat for the other person. She tearfully asked everyone to give God time to change that person’s heart.
As she spoke, my heart rejoiced. She said the right words in the right way. God used her as a peacemaker and the congregation voted to hold off, to wait on God for His Spirit to work. Within a week, we saw evidence of that being the right decision.
Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle. (Psalm 144:1)God knows what battles need to be fought. Most of mine are spiritual battles against my own sinful tendencies, against Satan’s lies, and against a myriad of temptations from the world. Sometimes some battles seem to be against other Christians, but that is never the case. Our conflicts always come from sin within, and from those other sources. For discerning the bottom line, I need the Spirit of God. I also need Him to show me when to fight and when to flee. Then, as the above verse says, I need Him to show me how to fight.
I’m thankful that Christians are always united because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I’m thankful that God shows us how to be at peace with each other. I’m also thankful that when we disagree, God also shows us how to clarify the issues, get our sinful I-wants out of the way, and do what He wants us to do rather than what we would do apart from Him. I’m also glad that when necessary, He shows us how to take up our spiritual weapons and fight for what is right. Praise be to God who is our Rock!