Live a life worthy of the calling you have received… Ephesians 4: 1.
In America, and in many other countries, we are going through a time of anger, conflict, and division. Each viewpoint is driven home by arguments, scorn, and rejection of those who hold different views. Friends have told me that they cannot share their thoughts with work colleagues. Others are verbally attacked by family members they once got along with. And one woman was reported as planning to divorce her husband because of who he voted for in the recent presidential election. Yikes!
What is happening? And what can we do to shine as
lights in a dark and divided world?
Whoever you voted for, and whatever views you hold, God’s Word gives us principles to live by—which is another reason we need to take it in regularly.
This is not the full answer but here are 7 verses that, if practiced consistently, will make a difference in your stress level, your mood, and how you come across to people who don’t share your views!
- Psalm 119:105. Get your input from God’s Word, not your favorite network or news source. What does God say about how to handle the situations you’re facing?
- Psalm 37:1. Don’t fret. Don’t get unduly upset! Stay cool! Breathe deeply. Step back. Recognize that worry and anticipating the unknown will not help you. Jesus repeated this principle five times in Matthew 6:25-34. Your worry will not change a situation, but it will eat away at you! Repeat to God: “I trust YOU!”
- Proverbs 21:23. Guard your words! Plaster the old advice on your brain, Think before you speak! In today’s climate, whatever you say can bring derision and division—from both sides of the issue. Check your motive in speaking out, and consider the possible outcome. Is it something that helps or hinders the person or situation? Eph.4:29.
- Micah 6:8. Do what God requires of you. It’s not complicated. Be fair and just toward others. Be compassionate and merciful. Walk humbly with God. Show God’s heart through your words and actions.
- Romans 12:17-18. Don’t play tit for tat. Don’t repay anyone evil for evil. As far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. Jesus didn’t respond to insults and we’re to do the same. You can read about my somewhat humorous encounter with a difficult person here: Thrive 4 Responses to Difficult People
- Philippians 2:14. Shine like Jesus in your universe. Choose to be a positive influence in your various circles. Show interest, learn to listen without interrupting, look for the fears that are driving their emotions, and yours. Pray for insight to identify the values you have in common–and build on those, not your differences. Remember it’s not about winning an argument or a convert to your opinions, it’s about revealing the love and peace God can give in any situation.
Want to brush up on your listening skills? Click here: http://bit.ly/2lWwizw
- 1 Peter 4: 8-11. Praise God if you suffer for being a Christian. Don’t assume that all attacks or rejection are because of your faith. Sometimes they come because of insensitive reactions, mean words, accusations, or other negative behaviors on our part. But if you’re on the receiving end of scorn or dislike because of your identification with Jesus, remember His words: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5: 11-12.
You’ll find more practical principles and help on dealing with conflict of all kinds in my book, Reaching Higher. In his conflict with Lot, Abraham shows us how to handle it.
If your conflict is with your spouse, you’ll find many helps for better communication in Why Can’t He be More Like Me? You can order an autographed copy from my website or from Amazon.
Let’s talk: What’s troubling you the most in our current social divisions? What teachings from Scripture are helping you act out your faith?
Photo credits: Dollarphotoclub_69793015, Dollarphotoclub_51199267