Wednesday, November 09, 2022
I have a problem. It’s serious. I don’t think it’s unique to me. I will tell you what it is if you promise to examine your own heart as well. Thanks.
When conflict arises, I tend to become solution oriented rather than people oriented. But that’s only half the problem. If that’s all there was to this, it wouldn’t be quite so bad. But when you add the other half the issue becomes very serious. You see, in addition to becoming solution focused, I become focused on my solution. It’s so bad that my natural tendency is to pursue my way rather than make sure other people are heard and satisfied. Now that’s serious!
Obviously, I don’t do that all the time, but I fight it all the time. My pride is huge. My identity is far too closely connected to my performance. Winning is far more important than it should be. Pride attempts to overwhelm love. (Don’t forget your promise to examine yourself.)
As I look back over the past few years of my life, I am ashamed by the number of times that conflict arose because I was more interested in sharing my point of view than truly listening to someone else’s. I am amazed, shocked, and horrified at the number of times that conflict resolution came down to winning at all cost. My spirit is stifled by the realization that pride is at the center of it all.
I’m embarrassed by the number of times I have clammed up and withdrawn because I didn’t feel my voice was being heard. I’m equally embarrassed by the number of times my voice gets louder just so I can be heard. I’m ashamed of how many times I’ve been tempted to run away because I didn’t get my way. I’m shocked that I’ve actually done that. Pride attempts to paralyze love. (Don’t forget your promise.)
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
I have a long way to go to discover the marvel of loving others deeply, because I still love myself too much. I want to be so convinced of God’s approval on my life that I never need the approval that comes from winning. I want to be so fully grounded in the Father’s love for me that I could live without the love of others. I want to be so infused with the love of God that I will put other people’s feelings ahead of my fleshly need for getting my way. I want to consider others better than myself. I want to be able to look beyond the conflict and see the heart of someone Jesus died for.
The most important words of all to me today are the first two in the verse – “above all.” I know there are times when I must fight for what I know is right, but never at the expense of love. There are times when I must engage the conflict and bring a solution to the table, but never without love. There are times when people will say I was wrong, but may they never say I didn’t love. Sometimes people will even walk or run away because they suffer from the same problem I am fighting, but when they get far enough away to rationally evaluate what happened, may they look back and realize they saw love.
God is working on my problem. God’s love is softening my heart. Now, about that promise you made… Pastor John