by Pastor Tim Burt
I hope you realize that you need people and people need you. Why do you need people? You do because the primary way God brings blessing into your life is through people! We all know that people can wear us out. Yet, we need them and we have to love them as God commands. If we don’t, we’ll miss out on the very blessing God would bring to us through people. We can't fix everyone that is lousy at conducting relationships but we can work on ourselves.
James 3:17-18 NLT helps us discern what comes out our own mouth that would help make or break relationships. It says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.”
This verse helps us discern our own words, attitudes, and actions to see if the place we are coming from when working through conflict, is from an ungodly or godly perspective. Do the wise words "peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others" seem like you? Are you absolutely aware that almost every offense that ticks you off about other people, you yourself have violated? Proverbs 20:9 NIV says, “Who can say, 'I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin'"? We may not say this but we often act like we never do anything to bug or offend others. Psalm 143:2 (NLT) "Don’t put
your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before
you." What this verse is saying is that in your eyes you will always be justified but the offender will always be the one that was wrong. We are all wrong more often than we know, and we all need mercy. Not one of us would survive without mercy! Mercy is one of the most powerful forces in the world and the one that God used to bring you and I back to Himself through Jesus Christ. And good deeds—they are the action of love and kindness accompanying the mercy we should show that might look like this. Oh don't worry about it. I've made this same mistake also. We're good! Come on, let me buy you a coffee!
If we learn to imitate God, we can bring mercy into our daily living experience when and wherever possible to help soften or remove offense and conflict. What if they are rude and mean and don't deserve it? That is exactly where you were when Jesus died for you! Romans 5:8 (NLT) says, "But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." When we were out living like the devil, the Lord was overlooking our offenses and extending His love to us! We want God's mercy and we want Him to continue to bless us. And so God says that in conducting relationships, keep your tank "full of mercy and good deeds." You also overlook their shortcomings and offenses whenever possible and keep on blessing them.
At one time in my life, I had these neighbors. I did all sorts of things for them. I'd plow their driveway. I'd mow their lawn. I'd help them with a project when they needed it. In all that, never—not once did I get a thank you card or anything from them. The MOST I ever heard them say was one word—thanks. I was not used to that kind of ungratefulness because my mother taught me the opposite. Yet, I wasn't helping them for the thanks. I was simply motivated to touch my neighbors with God's love. There were times when I'd think, I've never met such ungrateful people. I'll never do anything for them again. But, then the occasion would come up and God would talk to me about His wisdom that was pure and peaceable and full of mercy and good deeds and I'd help them again. It was the right thing to do.
I realize it doesn’t solve the problems that cause conflict, but it does give space and time blow off the minor offences, and work through conflict with the Heavenly wisdom spoken of in the verses above from James. We are all a work in progress and therefore all desperate for God’s mercy. Learning to show mercy liberally, will bless your life in more ways than you could imagine! As liberally as we would want or need it, let us give it out. Then the blessing of God can flow without interruption from you to people, and from people to you.
James 3:17-18 NLT "...And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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