In my last post I shared four things that will resolve any conflict. Then, lo and behold, I found myself right in the middle of one. After rolling my eyes and thinking that I could at least get some points for writing this stuff and be let off the hook just a little, I knuckled down to taking some of my own advice. I discovered that I knew how to treat the other person but was not so sure of how to treat myself.
As a follower of Christ we know that we are to love our neighbor. We know that we are to turn the other cheek and we are to walk the extra mile. All this is right and Godly but while seeking the good of the other person, how should we be treating ourselves? I found some answers in 1 Corinthians 4: 3-5
- Deal with our pride. The root cause of division is pride. We don’t want to feel humiliated so we protect ourselves with pride. But what if we willingly lay down that pride? Even when we believe ourselves to be the innocent party. “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” 1 Cor 4:4
- Deal with our motives. Our conscience may be clear. We may believe our actions were right and we are thus the wronged party. But the scripture says that we are not necessarily innocent. We need to ask God to show us any hidden motive. “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Cor 4:5
- Deal with our self-condemnation. We may come to the realization that we are not so innocent after all and we had a part to play in the conflict arising or escalating. At this point we can so easily fall down that deep chasm of self-condemnation and set about judging ourselves. This could then lead to self pity or self loathing, neither of which are healthy or right before God. “… indeed, I do not even judge myself.” – 1 Cor 4:3 and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
- Deal with our identity. In the conflict situation our identity gets challenged. How the other person perceives us or even how we perceive ourselves is challenged. After listening carefully and receiving any correction from God, we should treat ourselves well. With grace. And dignity. And care. Our identity is in Christ. We are not who others say we are. We are not even who we say we are. We are the person Christ says we are and that should make all the difference.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1