As we’ve been reading through Ephesians in our sermon series, we’ve picked up on a few interesting ideas that we can incorporate into our own lives that will help us day to day. A few weeks ago we looked at Ephesians 4:25-32 which touched on bitterness and conflict management. In there we found six aspects of conflict management that we should pay close attention to so we can ward off bitterness! Whether you’re a believer or not, I think you’ll find some interesting thoughts to chew on. I thought I would share those here.
When it comes to conflict management, be aware of:
Your Intent: “put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
What is your intent when it comes to conflict resolution? Is it to be right? Is it to win the argument? Is it to twist the facts to put you in the best possible light? Is it to completely avoid conflict at all costs?
The author of Ephesians, Paul, calls us to seek speaking the truth with each other. Because when we look to seek truth over victory, we start on a course that will lead us to reconciliation over competition. What is your intent? To seek truth or to seek victory?
Your Emotions: “Be angry and do not sin”
There’s quite a difference between me yelling at my wife at a birthday party compared to quietly, in control of my anger, speaking to her in the car on the ride home from the birthday party. Emotions such as anger are not in themselves bad, even Jesus was angry at times. It is what you do in your anger that leads to breaking relationships and causing an awkward birthday party. Anger however, is the spark that ignites outrage. Watch your emotions, you may need to take a moment to cool down before trying to speak truth to the other party.
Your Timing: “do not let the sun go down on your anger”
Take a moment to cool your emotions, but as the passage urges us, do not let the sun go down on your anger. Now if you’ve started the fight at 11:00pm and it’s 1:00am, my advice: GO TO BED! Sometimes it’s best to go to sleep. Paul here is urging us to make conflict management a priority in our lives. When we don’t and we allow anger to carry on for days or weeks, that is fertile breeding grounds for hate and grudges. Make speaking the truth to one another a priority after you’ve cooled down.
Your Tempter: “Give no opportunity to the devil”
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
You may be reading this and you don’t believe in a ‘devil’. But be careful for grudges, hate and malcontent are just as easily looking to gobble you up. We all have had an experience where we get worked up over some small thing and completely blow it out of proportion. Whether that is the devil whispering into our ears or our own self-talk, give no opportunity to your tempter to drag you into the pit of hate, for it will be your prison.
Your Actions: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work”
Have you ever seen what bitter hands bring to the table? What kind of emails or text messages they send? Have you ever seen what hands who seek victory will do? Instead of finding peace, they will seek out the worst and bring to the forefront every available tool at their disposal to win the fight. Watch out for your actions! Are you acting out of an intent to bring peace or to win the battle?
Your Words: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up.”
“The good person out of the good treasures of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures produce evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Pay close attention to your words and your gossip. If you’re speaking badly about a person, it might be because a root of bitterness has already formed in your heart and it’s coming out in the form of your words. Are strong emotions surfacing when you think of a person or a time or an event? You might have bitterness brewing in your heart. Pay attention to your words, they reveal your heart.
This weekend, come join us as we continue to explore Ephesians.
10:40 Sunday morning at 78 S Front St.
Parkland Community Church: Existing to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.