Written by Sarah Rhodes
I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise when I say that the heart takes longer to recover from conflict than the mind. We are more quick to understand that we should forgive someone with our mind than to truly forgive them from the heart — never to feel that familiar pang when visiting an unpleasant memory again. We all grow up with different lenses of what love should look like. Even against our better judgement, our hearts still beat to the drums of our childhood hurts and triumphs. Thankfully, Jesus provides His Spirit to fill in all the cracks with wisdom so we can stop the poisonous cycle of broken relationships.
This makes it all the more important to know how to deal with conflict in a healthy way and to watch our behaviour. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” A negative word or harsh action can literally affect how someone is lives their daily life. By ignoring boundaries, we can open the door to damage that will affect how we treat others in the future and disrupt unity within the Body of Christ. Sometimes, this can be unintentional., That is why David prayed in the Psalms, “Save me from my unknown sin.” He knew the effects of sin are deep, whether we are aware of it or not. This prayer illustrates the desire for sanctification.
We are to be more like Christ. The same Christ who reconciled himself to His Church; the same Christ who distributes unconditional love and grace. Love does not keep record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5), which means we must strive to hold the same standard for ourselves during times of conflict with other people. It’s not about us.
When the Lord is speaking to Cain about his conflict with his brother Abel, He states, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” (Genesis 4:7). This can be applied to our behaviour towards others as well. We will be tempted to strike, to yell, to argue for our own way. But we must rule over this, for the sake of the Church and for the sake of the world.
It’s important to remember that the Lord is the only one who can bring true healing. His holy work inside of us is necessary. Jesus commands us to forgive, so if it is His will for us to forgive others, then he will equip us to do so (Hebrews 13:20-21). We need to be reminded of this. If we don’t have this prayerful mindset, we often attempt to heal ourselves through rash decisions that end up driving the stake in deeper. Only the Holy Spirit can reach our spirits; only the supernatural can heal something that is not physical.
True healing is not found when we run away from it. When we come to Jesus He will take our hurt and turn it into something that produces fruit. He will visit the darkest places of your heart and turn them into light. So, my prayer today is that you cease striving! Keep praying in surrender and allow Him to do what only He can do in every relationship you may have and in every circumstance you may experience.