Tag Archives: conflict

2 Samuel 21; Galations 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age…”  Galations 1:3,4

How quickly my eyes skim over the words grace and peace to you,  but Paul thought them important enough to begin each letter with these words. Early Christians would regularly greet one another with these simple but powerful words.  Those two gifts are Paul’s sincere wish for his people.  How ironic that almost immediately after these words,  he launches into correction, discipline and addressing conflict within the early church.

I’ve been around folks who offer a false grace and peace that is conflict free.  I think Dietrich Bonhoeffer called that “cheap grace.”  No,  I want the real thing even if it means I have to be called to task and especially if it means I get knocked off my throne.  As much as I keep trying to climb back up there, in my heart of hearts,  I know that’s not where I belong.  Ezekiel just told me so (28:2).  So I will live in this community of believers and learn to love and be loved in the midst of personalities that are compatible and incompatible with mine and watch how God moves among us and makes us more like Him.  Will His wonders never cease?

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Filed under 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, Galatians, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

2 Kings 18; Philem.; Hos. 11; Ps.132-134

It was 2008. I hadn’t talked to Onesimus in almost two years. Ok, her name isn’t really Onesimus, but the day I randomly opened to the book of Philemon, I saw our story speaking to me in between the lines.

Holding onto hurt–both of us–to the point I decided it was better to take a break. I did my best to write her out of my life, convinced we could live at peace … apart. But there never was peace. And it didn’t feel right living so fractured, no matter how I tried to justify it.

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.  (verses 8-9)

I have no doubt that day, in love, these words time traveled to tell me, and to teach me how, to forgive, even when I didn’t want to.

I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. (verse 12)

How many years would pass in estrangement? The rippling effects of our feud hurting hearts. If I would ever find peace, it would be through forgiveness.

Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. (verses 15-16)

When I swapped out Onesimus’ name and put hers in its place, the message became uncomfortably personal. Maybe it was good for me to try to work it out on my own (and fail), so that when the time came for us to reunite, it could be forever, as dear sisters.

So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. (verses 17-18)

The answer all the more clear: Paul’s example pointing to Christ’s work on the cross. That charge had been paid.

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. (verse 21)

I sat there staring at a page that totally changed my life and asked aloud, “More than you ask? I have to invite her to Thanksgiving dinner, don’t I.”

There was no response, but I knew what I had to do: forgive. And then I called her.

It took years of dealing with my own stubbornness trying to find my own solution that had to do with anything else but reconciliation. Relationships can get messy. Comments can still hurt.  But unforgiveness hurts worse, and it hurts everyone involved–be it the person unforgiving, the one unforgiven, or the bystanders caught in the middle.

I invited her to Thanksgiving dinner that year. I welcomed her as if the Lord himself stood at my door. I felt freed from a grudge and a hurt … because of a page in my Bible written two thousand years ago and a message of love–and forgiveness–that is timeless.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1


Looking forward to seeing her face at my dinner table again this year. It wouldn’t be the same without her. Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Philemon, Psalms

2 Kings 8, 1 Timothy 5, Daniel 12, Psalm 119:49-72

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:10

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

Teach me knowledge and good judgment for believing your commands. Psalm 119:66

God used family problems this week  to refine and purify my actions.  Initially I fixated on my sister’s culpability. After all she did curse at me. Certainly I was above reproach. (Ha!) Then the Scriptures opened my eyes to how my own behavior contributed to the situation.

In constantly trying to rescue her from her problems we as a family had robbed her of the ability to cope on her own. In turn I had denied myself the opportunity of receiving assistance from her.

The best One to judge everything is the One who is in control. Had we inquired of God  first perhaps things would not be so out of control now. Yet I praise Him for showing me that there are better ways to handle challenges than the way we have always done.

Father, You put me in frustrating situations time after time to help me grow. Thank you for teaching me how to respond to others to create more healthy balanced relationships. Thank you for your mercies new every morning.



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