Overcoming Conflict

Overcoming Conflict

Well hey there China Grove First Baptist Church, it’s so good to see you. I’m glad that you have joined us for a time of worship and Bible study today. It’s certainly an exciting time to be alive. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this church ’cause I can see God moving through our online messages and through our in-person messages and Bible studies. And we’re just so excited to see how God has been moving in the last four or five weeks. And I just want to say thank you for the love and support that you have shown my family since we have been here and we’re just continuously excited about what God is going to do in the future.  We’re certainly looking forward to having our home finished maybe in January, and being able to move in to the community and just kind of do life together and serve together and impact this the greater China Grove area as a church family.

Today we’re continuing our series, Rebuild and Restore.  It’s the 6th week of a study through the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is the last historical book of the Old Testament. It’s not the last book, chronologically in the Old Testament, if you’re going from Genesis all the way to the end, of course, but historically speaking, when the events of Nehemiah end it’s 400 years to the events of the baby being born in Bethlehem.

The people have returned from their exile. They have spent 70 years away from their Holy Land and over the last 70 years leading up to our story in Nehemiah, they’ve been coming in to the Holy Land and being returned from their exile in waves. Nehemiah is really the third and last wave of exiles and they begin the task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  But as Nehemiah leads the people, he also sees there are things that need to be restored. You know the people need to be restored to covenant worship and right practices and right fellowship, and so he begins. This process of rebuilding and restoring a people.

We’ve seen that it was Nehemiah’s passion for God and his passion for people that led his purpose in life to align with God’s purpose for his life. And because of that, he became a prayerful servant. He’s completely dependent upon God and all he does, and he spends so much time in prayer.

He’s also a patient and prepared servant, as we looked at the first part of Chapter 2.  As we looked at the last half of Chapter 2 in all of chapter 3, we saw that all the people had a job to do, and they worked together. They were unified shoulder to shoulder to advance the Kingdom of God and to rebuild the wall.

And then last week we saw that as the progression continued, the enemy attacked. There was opposition and we learned last week that to overcome opposition, we completely depend upon God and continuously work for God.  You see, God can do anything through His people that He wants to do and for them to accomplish the task of rebuilding the wall and to overcome the opposition that they faced from external forces they had to depend on God to fight for them, to protect them and to lead them through those challenging circumstances.

And today we’ll continue to look at opposition.  Because if last week was external opposition, today we’re going to see internal opposition. You know, the enemy had raised up armies to come against them, and that didn’t really work. They continue to build and they continued to move forward, and so now the enemy is causing conflict within the community of faith, and so I want us to see how we can overcome conflict.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced conflict. I know that’s hard to believe. I’m a pretty nice guy and easygoing, but I have experienced conflict. I have put my foot in my mouth more than one occasion.  And if you would ask Jennifer, she would tell you every single one of the occasions where I have caused conflict.

But the funniest one that I can remember is when I was in 6th or 7th grade. Me and my best friend had a conflict over a girl.  I’m sure that’s happened to a lot of the guys before.  We liked the same girl and we were fighting over her and this is true story after church after Sunday School at church, we were standing out under the little walkway fighting about this girl and he punched me right in the nose.  You know, and I just kind of stood there.  Now I’m a lot bigger and he was. He was a soccer player. I was a football player so I was bigger and stronger and just I was I was better than he was. No offense to the soccer players. Just kidding. My kids play soccer. They love it. But he punched me and I just stood there and I punched him back and so we start wrestling around on the church grounds. And of course, like guys, we got up, shook hands and walked away. But the best part about the story, the girl did not like either one of us and she was actually dating the other cooler guy in the youth group. The you know she was a 7th grader dating the 9th grader and so we didn’t handle that conflict very well. But we’re still good friends to this day and we were able to overcome that kind of conflict.

Last night I was watching the Andy Griffith Show. I love Andy Griffith and it was “The case of the punch in the nose”. I think is the name of the episode. It’s where Floyd and Foley had this fight 19 years before the show or before this episode and it was never settled and so Barney, the nut, as Andy calls him, stirs it up and causes the whole town to start going around punching each other. You know it’s just conflict. That conflict divided the whole town, and of course Andy did what Andy always does. He brings them in. They listen to each other. They confront each other the right way.  And then they come to an agreement where they admit that they were wrong and they commit to moving forward as best friends. But conflict has the ability to divide.

And in Nehemiah Chapter 5, Nehemiah has to head off conflict that has the potential to divert attention away from the rebuilding of the wall and cause division amongst the people. And he does it in the right way. You see conflict happens because we all have this kind of selfish attitude. I want what I want you.  You want what you want.  You want to do what you want to do. I want to do what I want to do.  And when those things are against each other, there’s conflict and that’s kind of the spark.

Ken Sande says there’s three levels of conflict, the spark.  People are different. They want different things, and just by the way, being different and wanting different things isn’t bad. God celebrates diversity. God celebrates our differences.  God desires unity, not uniformity. And so what we have to learn to do is take our differences of opinion, take our different ideas and bring them together, unified under the leadership and lordship of God Almighty, to work together for the common good.

And so the spark is when we allow these differences to cause division and separation. We refuse to work together and that’s just a little spark. And then we add gasoline to it, right? The gasoline is when we take the differences and our sinfulness and we react in an inappropriate way.  If somebody does something to harm me and I don’t like it, I react the wrong way. I respond the wrong way and that adds gasoline to that conflict, to that spark. And if we continue to respond to these situations wrongly, then that spark, combined with the fuel, turns into a fire that is extremely destructive.  It is destructive for families. It is destructive for the church. It is destructive for a nation. It is destructive for friendships and so we have to respond to conflict the right way.

There was a time when I was coaching wrestling.  And all I wanted, what I wanted really, really bad on this day this tournament was for one young man to win the tournament. He had made it to the championship game. This young man was going through some difficult things in his life and he needed to be successful and I deeply desired for him to be successful as his coach.   And so, what happened is with like 30 seconds or so left, he’s up by one point.  And he all he has to do is ride it out for 30 seconds. But if he lets the guy reverse and get out and escape, that’s two points he’s gonna lose. Well, right as the buzzer sounded, the guy almost got out. Now I don’t think he did, but the referee did.  He said he’s out and gave him the two points and my kid lost. Well that was the spark of what was getting ready to be a pretty destructive conflict. ’cause I lost it. I mean, I flew off the handle.  And in my youth, ’cause I was only 22-23 years old, I got to the middle of the mat and I was yelling and I was probably spitting, I promise you, I was cussing. I was mad, ’cause all I wanted was this kid to be successful and he got robbed. I know it. The referee knew it, everybody knew it. He got robbed. In fact, after we calmed down later, much later, the referee told me he messed up, but he couldn’t reverse it because of the way I had acted.  Go figure.  But in that moment, it was heated, he was yelling, I was yelling and then he took a step forward. And I took two steps forward and I chest bumped him. I don’t know if you know much about collegiate sports or not collegiate, but high school sports, but when you make contact with a referee you’re usually getting escorted out of the building. And I did. OK, that was bad, and here’s what made it exponentially worse. Here’s what made it a big fire.  Two weeks later, I told him I was going to be a pastor. OK, and I didn’t respond the right way. It hurt my witness and it robbed God of His glory.  And if I would have responded differently, one I probably would have got the call and I would have got what I wanted anyway, but I allowed my emotions. I allowed the conflict to just burn and burn and the results were devastating.  It was just it was bad.

So, we have to be careful when we are experiencing situations that are involving conflict, but not all conflict is bad. OK, that’s important to understand. Good things come from conflict. In fact, in Acts chapter 6, there’s a conflict that takes place in the early church.  There’s a group that gets shortchanged on the meal distributions, and they’re mad. They’re angry, and so they go to the Apostles and they say, Hey, we’re getting shortchanged here, and the Apostles responded correctly. They responded in a loving, Godly way, and they said, well, elect some men from among you.  And those men became the servants who made sure that everyone was treated equally.  And you see what happened was God was glorified because the church was unified. Everyone came to an agreement that with differences for sure, they came to an agreement and it glorified God.  And conflict and fire was diverted because they responded in the right way.  They were able to overcome conflict. Now that’s huge in a world, especially today, when conflict seems to go like this.  You make me mad; I’m coming after you and I’m going to get revenge. That’s what it is today. Somebody hurts me, I’m going to hurt them. There’s a great movie I think it’s called The Untouchables.  Sean Connery says, you know, “they send one of us to the hospital, we’re sending one of them to the morgue.”

Well, that’s not the way we should respond to conflict. But that’s the way the world tells us to respond to conflict. So, there’s this tension between how we should live as Christians as God’s children, and what the world is telling us to do. But here’s the amazing thing. When we respond to conflict in a Godly way, the world will take notice.  They will see that we are different. They will see that we handle problems differently. We handle problems in such a way that we can take our diversity’s and create unity. And there’s people in this world who desire that. Who want that?  And so when we overcome conflict in a Godly way, the world takes notice. It brings glory to God and it’s a witness to God. And who knows, maybe people see that and say I want to be a part of that. How can I have faith in Jesus? How can my life be like that?

And so today we’re going to see how we can overcome conflict, because when it comes to conflict, God’s solution is the best resolution.  When it comes to conflict in your marriage, God’s solution is the best resolution.  When it comes to conflict with your children or in your families, God solution is the best resolution.  When it comes to conflict within our businesses, within our churches, God’s solution is the best resolution.

So, if you have Nehemiah. Chapter 5 we’ll start reading in verses 1-5 and we’re just going to set the scene. Nehemiah Chapter 5:1-5.

“Now there arose a great outcry for the people and their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said with our sons and our daughters, we are many.”  Remember, this is a huge nation. They’ve multiplied, they’ve grown. There’s a lot of people living in the city.  “And they said, let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive” they’re hungry.

So this is kind of the first group we see show up and say Nehemiah were hungry. There’s a lot of us. You’ve got all these people building the wall, so there’s not people working the fields, so there’s not as much grain as normal, and so we’re just hungry. We need to feed our family, and then a second group of people pipe in.

And verse three, “there were also those who said we are mortgaging our fields and our vineyards in our houses to get grain because of the famine.”  So now we see there’s a famine, so there’s already a food shortage because most of the men are working on the wall. There’s a famine, making the food shortage even worse, and they’re having to mortgage their fields.  They’re having to borrow money from wealthier people within the Jewish community, so they’re able to go buy food in the places that have food. In verse 4, there’s a third group that pipes in.  “And there were those who said we have borrowed money” again, they’re having to go borrow money from other people, “because for the Kings, taxes on our fields and vineyards.”  Taxes are too high.  I think you can relate to that. OK, it was the same here. The King had great had high taxes, they had to pay him so they’re having to get loans and borrow money to pay for the taxes. Now just to point out, this message has nothing to do with high taxes. OK? It’s not about responding to our taxes being too high, but that’s the situation these people find themselves in, and so verse 5. “Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. And yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved. But it is not our power to help it.” They are powerless in this situation. “For other men, have our fields and our vineyards.”

And so right here you see the sparks of conflict. OK, the sparks of conflict. There’s a famine. People are hungry. They’re having to borrow food. They’re having to borrow; they’re having to borrow money to pay for food. They’re having to borrow money to pay taxes, and what we understand to be going on is there borrowing money from other Jewish people? Wealthier people who have decided to take advantage of the situation.  They’re charging extremely high interest rates.  Now, I get it.  When I go to the bank to get a mortgage, I expect the bank to charge an interest rate. Thank goodness it’s low right now, but I expect that.  When we go to a brother or sister and say, “Hey, I need some help. I’ll pay it back. But can I borrow some money?”  We don’t expect them to charge us high interest rates.  We don’t expect our brothers or our sisters or our friends or our family in the community of faith to treat us poorly or to take advantage of the situation. And that’s what’s happening. The wealthy people are trying to deepen their pockets by taking advantage of the poor people’s problems and that is a spark that if it is not corrected is going to create an extremely large fire that could destroy the rebuilding project.

Now I will say this just to be clear, having money is not a problem. This is not a message against being rich or being wealthy.  The conflict has nothing to do with rich versus poor. It has to do with how people are treating other people. That’s the problem that we see. You know, the Bible teaches that it’s the love of money that is sinful. And it’s these wealthy people’s love for money, their greed that has caused them to exploit the situation. And it’s the sparks of conflict. The high interest rates are the beginnings of the gasoline. I mean, these people are angry and they’re ready to revolt. They’re ready to stop work, and so Nehemiah, the governor, the leader, has to come in and respond to this potential devastating conflict in a Godly way.

Look at verse 6. But before I do that, let me just show you the problem. OK, I don’t want to miss the problem. The reason charging interest is so bad is 2 reasons. One, it is against God’s commandment. Deuteronomy 23:19. “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest.”  They’re not supposed to do that. God’s law says it. OK, they can lend money, but they’re not to charge interest.  They’re also not showing love to their neighbor, and that’s really the royal command isn’t it?  To love our neighbors as Christ loves us as God loves us.

Romans 12:9-10,13 says “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor…. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”  And then John 13:35. Jesus says this “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” What they are doing in the midst of this conflict between brothers and sisters, is there not loving each other? They shouldn’t, these nobles and these rich people, they shouldn’t be taking advantage because there’s work being done for the common good.

And yet, they’re overlooking that in their treating people in a dishonorable way and they’re charging interest in violation of God’s Word. So, Nehemiah has to respond to this. He has to find a way to extinguish this spark.

The first thing he does is he’s a good listener. If you want to overcome conflict, the first thing we have to do is we have to be good listeners. Look at verse 6. “I was angry when I heard their outcry and these words.”  You know he heard them. He listened to them. He didn’t have to. He could have ignored them. He could have brushed him off. He could have said, “you know what? You see that big wall over there that’s not finished. I got better things to do. OK, you go take care of this yourself.” Or he could have come back says, well, I’m one of those people, ’cause Nehemiah was a governor.  He may not have been the wealthiest, but he would have been in the class of wealthier people. And he could have said, “well, are you accusing me of something?”  He could have gotten very defensive, but instead he listened.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m in an argument, or if I’m in a debate or if I’m on that verge of conflict when somebody’s coming at me, I’m not listening. I’m thinking about how I’m going to respond. Anybody ever like that? I’m sure.  I only think about my next response and I failed to hear what that person is saying.  In fact, the conflict I’ve had in my marriage probably could have been stopped in its tracks, if I would have listened instead of trying to think of a statement to retort what I was being accused of, that would lead me to win the argument.  And men, let’s be honest, we’re not going to win the argument. OK, we know we’re wrong.  But we want to debate.  And I fancy myself as a good debater.  But if we listen to each other, he listened to their cries and it made him angry.

And that’s kind of the second thing we need to talk about.  To overcome conflict, we gotta listen.  But then we have to respond or confront the problem the right way. You know it’s going to require confrontation. Most problems require some kind of confrontation to solve the problem.  But he’s got to do it the right way. He’s angry. I mean he is mad. He is on fire. He’s like. Why are they? Why are our brothers and sisters treating them this way? Why are we enslaving our own children to pay back the debts? That’s what it means when it’s talking about being enslaved. He’s like, why are we, we just got out of slavery? We just got out of bondage. We just got out of captivity and the Gentiles did that to us. And here we are doing it to each other. And he’s mad.

I sat in a meeting one time and I was mad. It was, it was a meeting about something that I was very passionate about. And I was getting madder and madder and madder.  And then, it happened, I opened my mouth and I said things I should have said. I responded the wrong way and it blew it up even more.

But see here, Nehemiah’s angry and it says he took counsel with himself.  Verse 7, “I took counsel with myself.”  So what happened was, as he was angry, and this is what I should have done in my anger. He took a breath. He thought about what he was going to say. He thought and prayed about. He was how he was going to respond. He took time to think through the best, most Godly way to confront the situation.

He says, and then he continues. “And I brought charges against the nobles and the officials, and I said to them, ‘You are exacting interest each from his brother.’ And I held a great assembly against them, and I said to them, ‘we, as far as we’re able have bought back our Jewish brothers, who have been sold to the nations. But you even sell your brothers, that they may be sold to us.’”

So, what Nehemiah does, he confronts him.  He brings the nobles in, he says, hey, what you’re doing, it’s not right. It’s gotta stop. Then he brings everybody together and he says it again.  He goes, why are we doing this to each other? We just came out of a situation and now we’re treating each other the way we were treated for 70 years. Why?  It’s gotta stop now.  I love this because here’s what he doesn’t do. See if this sounds familiar. He doesn’t gossip about the situation.  He doesn’t backbite about the situation. He doesn’t go after it passively or aggressive or passive aggressively.  He doesn’t stand on the pulpit and make small little comments directed at a situation, but he’s not really clear. I know preachers who do that. I’ve done it and I shouldn’t, OK?  He brings them all together and he says we’re not going to go. We’re not going to deal with this behind closed doors. We’re going to get it out in the open, and as your leader, I’m just going to confront you and say this is wrong.  You gotta stop it and they were silent. I love this, it says. After he kind of called him out initially he they were want to get it right. “They were silent and could not find a word to say.”  Whew!

Now, just to throw this into some perspective, I have been through periods in my life where I’ve tried to lose weight. And I will, during those periods I will go to the service station, without the people who are holding me accountable, my wife, knowing it.  I get a Kit Kat and a Dr. Pepper.  And then I’ll try to hide it. And then when Jennifer gets in the truck and I make a turn and it comes rolling out from under the seat, she calls me on it and most of the time I’m like how did that get in here?   Or like the little kid. Who here is a jar the cookie jar open and when you turn the lights on there, standing there with their hand in the jar, just going, “I didn’t do it.”  OK.

It’s a little bit different. see I give excuses. They just sit there in silence. They knew they were wrong and they had no explanation.   And so Nehemiah, it’s like the school teacher who says “why are you doing that?” And a school teacher yells at you for a little bit and you just sit there quietly like a little school mouse.  And the teacher goes “well, if you’re not going to say anything, I’m going to continue” and she and the teacher would blast into him again. So, Nehemiah continues. You’re not going to say anything. OK, he continues verse 9. “The thing that you are doing is not good.”  The understatement of the world. “The thing you’re not doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?“  Here’s what he says he goes.  You gotta stop. It’s not good because you’re living like them. You’re living like the pagans. You’re living like this the people, the Gentiles.  You’re living like people who haven’t been called by God. You’re living in responding to this situation like people who haven’t been set apart and that’s not good we’re supposed to be different.  We’re supposed to love different. We’re supposed to act different. We’re supposed to respond differently.

He says this just isn’t good. What kind of witness are we to our enemies who are already ridiculing us? They’re already plotting against us.  What kind of message does this send to them?  Church, when there’s conflict in our church and we do participate and we get into that backbiting, in that backstabbing, in that complaining, in that grumbling, what kind of message does it send to the rest of the world?  The world’s not looking for more division.  The world is not looking for more hate, and it’s not looking for more conflict. It’s looking for unity. It’s looking for hope. It’s looking for something different, and if they see the church acting a fool just like the rest of the world, why are they going to come here?  But if they see us acting differently, if they see us treating each other differently then they are drawn to that they want to be a part of that.  So, Nehemiah says look, we gotta stop, so he confronts it the right way. It’s out in the open and he really does it lovingly.  I mean, he didn’t go punch him in the face. He didn’t go Bible beat them, he talked to them. And he was honest with them.

Other thing I need you to see here is they received it. They received the rebuke.  They didn’t try to fight him back.  A lot of times when we go to people to confront them, even when we do it the right way, they don’t receive it the right way. I’ve had these conversations where I said look, you gotta stop this and the number one response. Don’t judge me. And my retort back is always the same. I’m not judging you. I’m holding you accountable.

There’s a difference between judging and holding somebody accountable. Brothers and sisters in the church, we have to hold each other accountable. And when a brother and sister comes to you to rebuke you or to correct you, as long as they do it in a loving, Christlike Christ centered way, receive the correction in a loving, Christlike, Godly Way, ’cause they’re just trying to help you.  We have to help each other. This this whole being a disciple thing is not done individually. I’m going to make mistakes and I have men who will correct me. I have pastors who are my friends who will who will call me up and say, Hey you messed up and I bet you know what you’re right.  So we have to confront people the right way, but we have to receive it in the right way too.

The last thing if we want to overcome conflict in a Godly way, if we want to see God’s solution as the best resolution, there has to be repentance and commitment. Nehemiah in verse 10 he calls for repentance and then calls them to a commitment. He says in verse 10, “Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants.  Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain”.  So Nehemiah says it right here. He puts himself in there. I’m lending money. I’m lending grain. He says, I’m a part of this problem too. We all are, so let’s come with a solution that makes all of us happy. He says “let us abandon this exacting of interest. Return to them this very day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards in their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine and oil that we have been exacting from them.”

Verse 12 then they said, so he says this. Here’s the response. “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.”

This is repentance. They had a complete change of mind. They were doing this and they said, you know what, we’re wrong. We’re sinful. We’re going to do this. We’re going to restore what we have taken. We’re going to restore these relationships. We’re going to restore things and we’re going to make it right.

Listen, church people who are listening to this message. There is a great conflict that all of us have experienced. We’ve experienced a conflict between God, us and God. It is caused by sin.  Our mistakes, our rebellion have caused conflict between us and God and it is separated us from God.  And the only way for that relationship to be restored is through what Jesus Christ did on the cross. You see to restore that broken relationship to make peace between us and God. Jesus carried that heavy blood-stained, blood-dripping cross through the streets of Jerusalem.  The very streets that are being rebuilt in the book of Nehemiah. So, it all ties together. He carries his cross. They put Him up on a hill and they crucify Him and He hangs there most of the day and then He says this before He dies.  “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Here’s what He’s saying for us today.  In 2020, there are people who are rebelling. There are people who are sinning. There are people who need to be restored and Jesus looks down, He says, “forgive them, they do not know what they’re doing.”  In those moments, when Jesus died on the cross and then when He was raised from the dead, He created a path to restoration to restore that broken relationship between us and God. He did the work that you and I cannot do.  We’ll never be good enough.  We’ll never do enough, we’ll never give enough, but Jesus has done the work and so all we do is respond to him in faith. We say I’m going to follow you.  I confess that I messed up.  Just like the people, they made a mistake, they repented, so we confess our sins. We admit that we messed up and then we said we’re not going to do it anymore. And so when we’re walking this direction, doing something wrong down a path away from God, we say “I’m going to turn my life around.”  This is what repentance looks like. We’re going to go this direction following God, following Jesus, as the Lord of our life and we’re going to mess up and we’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to be forgiven.

And through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to every day be more and more like Jesus. But we will be free from the penalty of sin and the penalty of Hell, and the penalty of death, and our place in heaven will be secured. But you have to respond to Jesus by saying I’m going to follow you.  You are the Lord of my life.  That is how you can be restored to the relationship that God desires to have with you.

So the Nehemiah calls for repentance and the people repent. Continue in verse 12 again. “Then they said, ‘we will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say,’” and here’s where Nehemiah calls for a commitment. “I called for the priest and I made them swear to do as they had promised.”  See now this is holding him accountable.  You see, we can say we’re going to do something all day long, but we gotta do it. This is putting faith in action.  OK, this is putting our repentance in action.

Verse 13. “He also shook out the fold of my garment and said so my God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep his promise.” What he’s basically doing, staying up and shaking his garment, he said see what I’m doing. I’m shaking the dust off my garment.  If you don’t keep your promise, May God shake you out of this community. He continues. “And all the assembly said Amen and praised the Lord and the people did as they had promised.“

And if you continue reading the rest of Chapter 5, you see that Nehemiah sets the example.  That he takes leadership, and he says “I called you to do it, I’m going to do it” and he shows great generosity to the people. But I love how verse 13 ends.  “All the assembly, everybody who was gathered said praise the Lord.”  God was glorified. They did not let the sparks of conflict destroy them. They didn’t let it divide them. They came together. They unified and they glorified God Almighty through their response. That’s how we overcome conflict.

You know there have been times as a husband I failed. I’ve shared a few of those with you.  Each time I’ve listened to what Jennifer told me to correct me.  I’ve said, I’m sorry I’ve repented.  And I’ve committed to not doing it again. That’s how you have to live in your family. It’s how we have to live as a church. How we have to live in a community.  Listen to each other.   I’ll tell you that most of the problems we face could stop if we just listen to each other, and then if we just talk to each other in a loving way.  And if we just confronted the problem head on in a Godly way.  And then if we just repented from where we messed up. And committed to not doing it again. That’s how conflict is extinguished.  That’s how it goes from being a spark to being extinguished.  And that’s how we are called to live. And when we do that, God is glorified.  We can worship. We can celebrate.

Another thing I want to tell you. The Bible says this. Luke 15:10 “and so I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  We can celebrate our accomplishing in overcoming conflict, but God celebrates when conflict between us and God is restored there’s a party in heaven.  If you decide to follow Jesus today, there’s going to be a party like you’ve never imagined going on in heaven. Because you were lost and now you’ve been found.

If God is calling you to do that, you contact the church and we’ll give you some information. We’ll walk you through that we’ll help you make a life changing decision where we can celebrate with you and celebrate with all of Heaven that you have come home to the family of God.

Let’s pray together.

Father, we love you. We thank you.  Father conflict is a part of life. We can’t avoid it. We can’t get away from it, but we can respond to it in a Godly way. Help us.  Help us to listen to each other.  Help us to confront each other in a Godly, loving way.   Help us to receive the confrontation if we need to. And then help us to repent and commit to You.  We ask this in Jesus Name Amen and Amen.