One of the most important things I can do in the middle of a conflict is humble myself.
But what does that mean exactly?
“I will do what God wants even if it is not what I want.”
“I will be very careful about how I relate to others.”
“I will make sure my relationship with God isn’t something academic by pursuing Him in personal worship.”
“I will deal with my own sin even if the other person doesn’t deal with theirs.”
“I’ll believe that God can take care of me better than I can take care of me, and I’ll let him do it.“
“I will not use my words to hurt other people in the church.”
This is James 4:11 and 12.
And, it is such a practical illustration of how pride works itself out.
“Do not speak evil against one another brothers.”
“The one who speaks against a brother or judges a brother speaks evil against the law and judges the law.”
In other words, you shouldn’t speak evil about people, gossip, slander, stuff like that, not just because it isn’t nice to do, but because when you slander or gossip or use your words to tear another person down, you are saying basically that you are so important, you don’t need to obey God’s law.
It’s big time pride.
Because God’s the one who has told us not to talk about others like that, which means when, we talk about others like that, we are saying we know better than God.
God says don’t.
We say do.
We speak evil against others.
We are saying, God doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
And that’s absolute foolishness.
Because we are not the ones who come up with the laws. We are the ones who are meant to obey them.
“But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.”
There’s only one person who has the right to change the law, and that’s the person who made the law, and that’s not you.
“There’s only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Which makes me think.
If one of the reasons we have struggle so much with conflict with others, is because we in our hearts of hearts want to think of ourselves, like we are God.
What we want matters most.
Instead of submitting to God.
We think of ourselves as almost perfect.
So we don’t even evaluate ourselves.
We have to justify ourselves.
Instead of trusting God.
And we see ourselves as being so important, that we actually have the right to speak of others as if we were their judge.
And it helps me, I guess, to see that so much of sinful conflict is about me or someone else, trying to play God, because it kind of shows me the first step I need to take, and we need to take if we are going to pursue unity.
We have to recognize, and really believe, that we are not.
And commit to acting like it.
I am not God.
“My rights are not what matters most. What matters most is what God wants.”
That’s number one.
I am not God.
“I am a human so I am not above being tricked by the devil, so I am going to be careful about how I deal with disagreement.”
“I can easily start thinking of myself as more important and smarter than I am, if I am not actively delighting in God on a daily basis, so I am not going to let myself get so focused on what other people have done wrong, that I am not worshiping God.”
I am not God.
“I am not perfect. Like God is. If God’s having a conflict with someone, God doesn’t need to evaluate Himself, because He always does what right. But not me. I don’t. And I know it. So before I get worked up about everything the other person has done, I am going to spend some time making sure I take my own sin seriously.
“I am not going to act like I know better than God does. By either trying to exalt myself, my way, or by disobeying His very clear instructions, not to use my words to tear others down.”
It’s not enough to just say we are humble.
We need to humble ourselves. And I am convinced if we’ll commit ourselves to pursuing that kind of humility, I can guarantee, you know, even though, we are going to hurt each other and we are going to disappoint each other and we are going to go through some real ups and downs in our relationships, God will always give us more grace, and His ability to help us, love each other, and have deep relationships with one another, will always, always, always, exceed our ability to hurt each other and mess this beautiful thing He’s doing up.