Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Closing the Door to Strife



GALATIANS 5:19-20 ;Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife (KJV)

1 CORINTHIANS 1:20 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 JOHN 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.


It is a fact of life that we will always come in contact with people who have opinions and viewpoints that are different from our own. People will almost always do and say things which we ourselves believe to be improper and unjust. There is an inclination for people from different church backgrounds, experiences and denominations to confront others who hold different viewpoints and conduct themselves differently with the purpose of convincing them to adopt OUR ways as their own.

Such confrontations are not always wrong. In fact, a certain kind of confrontation is a must for the Christian in cases where the other persons viewpoints are contrary to Godly thinking and their conduct is contrary to the clear teachings of the New Testament scriptures, (GALATIANS 6:1; JAMES 5:19-20). But they are not always necessary when it comes to disputable matters within the body of Christ.

Scores of theologians have argued these points for centuries and we will not solve them in our lifetime! However, we can get people saved and disciple them according to Gods word.

The danger of confronting others with the purpose of advancing a different viewpoint or changing someone's conduct often leads to STRIFE. Strife - arguing, quarreling, fighting, bickering and contending - is never justifiable. Strife is sin - a work of the flesh - and should not be part of our lives or the life of the church body as a whole.

The world watches us as a church, and there have been people who have been a part of ministries that had rampant strife within their church. More than likely they either left the church, or became disgruntled with God because the strife was not dealt with on a constructive level.

GraceTown Church strives to live out Romans 15:5 and Ephesians 4:3:

ROMANS 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,

EPHESIANS 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.


This statement of unity does not mean that we accept continual unscriptural lifestyles, heretical doctrines or blatant sins within our church. There are scripturally neutral areas of church and in our personal lives that are continually up for interpretation and discussion outsides the confines of a functioning church body.

If we make the disagreements of the church our focus, we will struggle to accomplish anything. This means that at GraceTown Church we strive to maintain a spirit of unity within our church. If we are not all on the same page we will not have a life giving culture but a life taking culture. GraceTown is about giving life. Therefore, we have to implement a life giving culture within our church and that is making sure we are free from strife.

Satan loves strife within the church because fighting amongst ourselves keeps us from taking down the kingdom of darkness. The Bible teaches a more seemly and (potentially) constructive way to deal with individual differences than to start or continue in strife.

Before discussing HOW to confront others, we should first quickly focus on IF and WHEN we should confront them! There are some people who presume they are always the one in the right and that everybody else should view things as they do, hold the same opinions they hold, and live in the exact same manner as they live. (Remember, we are speaking about areas that are Scripturally neutral.) They are arrogant individuals who nit-pick and often start arguments.

PROVERBS 28:25, An arrogant man stirs-up strife.

PROVERBS 13:10, Through presumption comes nothing but strife
.

To counter such strife, these individuals need a change in attitude:

ROMANS 12:16, do not be haughty in mind, ...Do not be wise in your own estimation.
There are also people who get all worked-up and/or offended by the littlest of matters and in response, cause big fracases. Obviously, these people need to develop a thicker skin, a less judgmental spirit, and greater self-control.

MATTHEW 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brothers eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to take the speck out of your brothers eye.

PROVERBS 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs-up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention.


In determining IF we should confront others due to differences, each of us (and especially those who belong to the two groups we just spoke of) must ask ourselves, Is the other persons opinion/viewpoint SO misguided, SO harmful, SO wrong that it must be discussed with the purpose of changing it? Are their actions and/or statements SO inappropriate and SO hurtful that they must be confronted, reproved, and corrected? If not, we need to practice forbearance and overlook differences:

1 PETER4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

EPHESIANS 4:2 with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love.

COLOSSIANS 3:13 bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.


If the differences between two parties are significant and create real barriers to a normal, healthy, and cooperative relationship then confrontation is necessary. However, to avoid the occurrence of strife, the individual(s) need to follow four simple Biblical guidelines -

1. SEEK A PEACEFUL SOLUTION.

Never confront someone with the purpose to argue, fight, or quarrel. Seek a solution to the situation in order to restore peace and harmony.

PROVERBS 20:3 Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel. Christians are servants of the Prince of Peace, therefore, are required to seek peace with others, especially those of the household of faith.

ROMANS 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

MATTHEW 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


2. SEEK A CONSTRUCTIVE SOLUTION.

Any confrontation should be entered into with the goal of arriving at a solution that will promote the best interests of the parties involved; strengthen each others character and deepen the relationship as a whole.

ROMANS 14:19 So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building-up of one another.

PROVERBS 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.


3. BE AN ATTENTIVE LISTENER.

During the confrontation, be respectful to the other persons thoughts and feelings. (Many times, showing respectfulness will lessen the likelihood that the other person will become obnoxious.) Be willing to hear them out before making final judgments and drawing conclusions. Understanding another's point of view will always help in coming-up with a more comprehensive solution.

JAMES 1:19 let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak.

PROVERBS 18:13 He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.



4. BE KIND AND GENTLE.

When one has to correct and point-out a fault, it must be done with kindness and gentleness which never seeks to hurt.

PROVERBS 16:23, 21, 24, The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds persuasiveness to his lips. The wise in heart will be called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

EPHESIANS 4:29, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

4 comments:

Jim said...

Though written from a secular perspective, I continually recommend the book "Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high" by Kerry Patterson, et. al.

Obviously there are topics that are not worth a confrontation, but as you said, that doesn't mean someone else won't think it's not worth it. In most cases, peoples' high school education (and often higher learning) don't prepare people with the skill to communicate effectively and engage others with respect. But coaching people to become better communicators and better leaders is a passion of mine, and I see it's one of yours also.

God bless! I'd love to know how I can be involved in a GraceTown work in the Akron area (OH).

Angelo Vecchione said...

Stefania Caterina was born in Genoa 19 January 1959 by a Catholic family practitioner.
In 1994 he decided to leave everything to dedicate himself totally to God and His work, by providing the gifts received from Him

You can write directly to
stefania.c@vrsolanuovacreazione.it / www.versolanuovacreazione.it
A dutiful introduction
Dearest Readers,
The messages Jesus is dictating to me these days and that will be published in the next months, definitely trace the path towards the events awaiting us. Therefore, I felt I had the duty to write this introduction, to help you enter more deeply in the subject you will be reading.
Up to today I shared with you the revelations I received from God. In my first book, Beyond the Great Barrier that ends with the 15th chapter entitled “The new Creation”, I amply presented to you the central message of the revelations received, that is: recapitulate in Christ all things in heaven and on earth. I tried to lead you to the events that have to do with the Earth and the universe. These days, Jesus told me that in the next months He wants to prepare us to face those events awaiting us in the immediate future.
How to face such events? I believe that in these years, through the many explanations I received and I communicated to you, we obtained the grace of understanding the interior walk which prepares us to enter the mind of Christ and to understand the mystery of God and of life, to elevate and transform us to the point of becoming new creatures. I spoke to you about this spiritual walk in particular in the book Writing History Anew – Vol. 1 In the mind of God. Furthermore, you have been accompanied by the messages published every month on this site; these messages continue and they introduce us, more and more, to a serious phase of preparation and decision making.
I cannot comment on these messages. Jesus Himself and His Holy Spirit will explain them to you in your heart. An answer is expected from you to understand the words that you will read. Finally, it is up to each one of us to commit ourselves, for the Earth and for the whole universe, so that the promises of God may be realized.
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www.versolanuovacreazione.it

Angelo Vecchione said...

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www.versolanuovacreazione.it


“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work”
(John 5:17)
“I bless you my children! Today I wish to speak to you about God’s work in these times and about the general picture in which your life and your mission is inserted.
“Try to understand, above all, that you did not happen to be in the reality in which you are by accident, but you are here because of a precise divine project. Whatever you might think about yourselves or others might think about you, know that your life is precious and irreplaceable in the time and place in which you find yourselves to be, according to God’s projects. You have been preordained for this reality, and for this reason God gave you irreplaceable and original potentialities. No one in the universe is equal to you, because God’s creativity is unlimited and inexhaustable, and because each one of you is absolutely unique in his being and in his way of acting.
“Unfortunatly, many on Earth live below their potentiality, because they do not make of themselves a gift to Me. I am the only One to know pefectly the Father’s project for each one of you, because from Him I received the order to bring to completion His work in every person. I am acting in you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who enlightens you, cloaks you, constantly inspires you pointing out the avenue towards Me, so that I might reveal to you the Will of the Father for each one of you.
Without me you shall never truly be able to know yourselves, nor to be able to understand what is asked of you to do in this life.
“The Holy Spirit and I are constantely at work in order to realize the Father’s project in each one of you, but we can do this only with the help of your freedom, that is, only when you willingly and freely choose to love and serve God and you offer to Him your life. This is the indispensable condition so that your potentialities activate and are at work. In fact, by the moment you decide to live for God and to be totally abandoned to His will, within you the action of the Holy Trinity starts working, and little by little, transforms your life and your thoughts. Thus, you are beginning to become conscious of who you are in God and to make a mark on reality, a creative mark, because it is divine creativity working in you. I wish you to be conscious about what I am saying to you, because the knowledge that God is active in you, independently from your human limitations and frailties, is determinant for your mission in the time in which you live.
“Yours is a grand time and a difficult time for the entire universe. Grandiose for the power of the events that the hand of God is preparing, and difficult because it is a time of battle with the powers of evil, an always more open battle.
All this does not refer to the planet earth alone, but to the entire creation and all the people who inhabit many other planets. I have already told you that they are children of God as you are, and that I gave My life for them as well. They are your brothers in whom the project of My Father has to be perfectly accomplished, just as it is in yours.
“What is the project of the Father? To bring back the entire creation to the state of integrity and perfection it had before original sin; to bring back every person to the dignity and glory of a child of God. All men and every creature that exists in the universe must be made free from corruption and death which infiltrated themselves in the work of God because of the sin of your forefathers. Humanity must return to a correct relationship with God, by recognizing His authority and by submitting to His guide. How is the Father going to realize this project? By recapitulating all creation in Me, since He gave Me all power in the whole universe.
__________________________________www.versolanuovacreazione.it
“This is why I am at

Angelo Vecchione said...

“You will also see nature restless, because nature reacts to the solicitations of good and evil, with a sensitity often stronger than yours. Nature will be hit heavily by the forces of evil, forces who will try to damage humanity, but nature will not be destroyed. Nature also will be recapitulated in Me in order to be renewed and transformed. Therefore, do not be afraid, My children, when facing the natural events that will follow one another. Hold on tightly to Me and you will have nothing to fear.
“I am stopping here for now; later I will talk to you about other matters so you can be prepared for what is about to happen. The Father never asks man to adhere to what he cannot understand; first He gives him light, then He asks him to decide, because God is fair with you. The Father sent Me among you to enlighten your road toward God and place you in the condition to be able to walk. Now it is up to you to decide.
“I am asking you to pray a lot and to seriously decide for God. I am asking you again to donate your life to Me, so that I can protect you and prepare you for the events that are awating you. It is not about catastrophes, like the most apprehensive ones fear, but it is a matter of tests necessary for the purification of humanity, in view of the beautiful and incorrupt new creation awaiting you. The Father prepared it for those who love Him, and I am calling you to be part of it. The Father is at work unceasingly and I am at work as well; therefore, your eyes will see great things. If you have faith you will be able to read them in the right light. They will appear to you for what they truly are: the marvels of God’s love for His people.
“I am blessing you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.
In the book “Beyond the great barrier” at Chp. 6, I spoke about the humanities of other planets, and of the choices made by each humanity. As a matter of fact, not all men have committed the original sin. There exist some humanities that kept themselves faithful to God, thus preserving spiritual and physical prerogatives much superior to ours.
For other messages:--- http://towardsthenewcreation.com/ ---
We apologize for the space, we believe that there may be useful for the journey of your life
God Bless you
Angelo
http://www.versolanuovacreazione.it/ / stefania.c@versolanuovacreazione.it/ http://fraternita.bloog.it/ http://fraternita.bloog.it/ www.conchiglia.net /
http://www.conchiglia.us/RIVELAZIONE_ITALIA/C_lettere/07.23_NUOVA_ARCA_DI_NOE_27.01.07http://www.dozule.org/RIVELAZIONE_ITALIA/dozule/dozule_GEA.html
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www.conchiglia.net