Managing conflict

Scripture Reading: 
~ Matthew 18:15-20 

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.”
~ Matthew 18:15
Alan’s dog had a habit of barking when the family was away. Of course, they didn’t know it because they weren’t there. They found out when the police showed up at their door saying that a neighbor had complained. Alan was shocked and a bit hurt. He was sorry that his dog was causing an annoyance in the neighborhood, but he was also upset that his neighbor hadn’t just talked to him directly instead of calling the police. He went to talk to his neighbor and explained why he would have appreciated the direct contact and that he was sorry for the noise his dog was making. And his neighbor understood, even appreciated the conversation.
Our text from Matthew 18 has been a foundational principle for dealing with conflict. If you have a problem with someone, go and talk to them about it first before including other people. It seems pretty basic. But it is also a foundational principle in community. Making a public complaint or using gossip or backstabbing will bring about mistrust and break community. On the other hand, directly addressing issues in a spirit of godly wisdom and love is a positive way of dealing with conflict. 
Conflicts will arise. Managing them directly and in a timely way is an important part of community. Is there anyone with whom you need to discuss a conflict? Dealing with that has the potential to make your community even stronger. 

Father, help us deal with conflicts wisely, and bring us into stronger relationships as a result. Amen. 

~ Bret Lamsma

Evening Prayer

VICTORY IN BATTLE 
Psalm 18:32-39

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You

I pray that God will prepare you for the battles you will face in life. May He train your hands for combat and arm you with strength. Praise Him for He gives you a shield of victory and makes your adversaries bow at your feet. I pray that your help will always come from the Lord, for He is your refuge and strength. In times of trouble, may He sustain you and make you great. I pray that you will honor God in all your battles and glorify Him in your victories.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Are You Afraid?

Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
~ Mark 4:40 [NLT]

The disciples had been with Jesus enough to see many miracles done but yet they underestimated the power He had to control the wind.  You may not be aware of your fears, but they drive at the heart of your words, actions, and attitudes.  Take a moment and think about your fears.  Now, think about each time Jesus has performed miracles in your life.  When you uncover your fears and approach them with His past faithfulness, your fears will lose all control.  Do you allow your fears to overtake your faith? 

Evening Prayer

GUARD YOUR THOUGHTS  
Psalm 104:34; Proverbs 15:26; Romans 1:28-29; Romans 8:7

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You

I pray that your thoughts will always be pleasing to the Lord. May you detest the thoughts of the wicked, just as the Lord detests them. May you realize that the enemy gains a foothold through your thoughts, so guard your mind always. May you remember that a sinful mind is hostile to God, and does not submit to God’s law. I pray that your mind will be set above earthly things, to what is pure and good and pleasing to the Lord.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Log in Your Own

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”

~ Matthew 7:3 [NLT]

Have you ever found yourself irritated with a person’s traits?  You get so angry that you lose your patience and have a hard time enjoying being around them.  This is the moment to analyze what specifically makes you angry.  Then, turn it back on yourself.  Do you catch yourself doing the same actions or saying the same words?  Why do you do it?  What underlying emotions cause you to have those traits?  Perhaps you can empathize with the friend now.  Work on changing your actions, thoughts, or words first before you judge someone else.

Evening Prayer

REWARDS OF DILIGENCE 
Ezra 7:23; Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 21:5; Luke 16:10

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You

I pray that you will be diligent in all that you do. I pray that by your conscientious labor, God will promote you to greater things. May your thoroughness lead to profit and protect you from haste that leads to poverty. I pray that you will show diligence, even in the small things, for those who can be trusted with little are eventually entrusted with much. Whatever our God has assigned you to do, may you do it diligently, that God may prosper you and be glorified through you.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.