A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 3)
What’s Your Part in the Conflict?
One of the best strategies for de-escalating conflict is also one of the scariest things you can do: Ask God to give you a clear picture of yourself.
When you’re in conflict, you bring all kinds of emotions and misconceptions to the table. Your responsibility is to ask God to point out your own shortcomings—not the shortcomings of your spouse, child, colleague, friend, or neighbor. Ask him to make clear anything in you that is wrong, and then lead you on the path that is always right.
When you genuinely pray those verses from Psalm 139, God will show you the right way. He’s not going to play games with you, and he always forgives—even when he points out that part of the problem is you.
As God reveals the sin in your life, you must take responsibility for it. Sometimes that means you bring it up in conversation with the other person, but it always means you get right with God. Your job is to admit any part of the conflict that was caused by your bias, insensitivity, immaturity, or negligence—or any other reason.
Jesus made this point by using hyperbole in the Sermon on the Mount. He says in Matthew 7:3-5: “And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First, get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother” (TLB).
Pointing the finger will never resolve conflict. You must first look at yourself and ask God for wisdom to recognize your sin, and then take responsibility for it. It will never be easy, but it will always be the right choice.
Talk It Over
- In what personal conflict do you need God to give you a clear picture of your responsibility? Have you asked God for that yet?
- Psalm 139:24 refers to “the way everlasting”—what do you think that is?
- Why is it so important to pray Psalm 139:23-24, especially before you have a difficult conversation?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.