Sunday February 28
Conflict Resolution the Jesus Way - Luke 23:34 (NIV)
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'"
All of us know the formula for hard feelings. The ingredients include: miscommunication, seasoned with a heightened sense of urgency. To complicate matters, I get defensive, especially when I feel someone has challenged my sense of fairness.
Over the years I have learned to process my response to stressful confrontations. Usually, just getting away from the situation before I say too much is a good start. During these times, I can analyze my motives to determine a more God-pleasing response. I might even discover a flaw in my own thinking that needs adjustment. We always need to discover God’s purposes in everything we do. Our lives must reflect the gentleness and love that Jesus demonstrates toward us.
When Jesus had been charged with crimes he had never committed, was subject to abuse and derision and eventual crucifixion, His response was not what we would have thought. Instead of resisting arrest, denying the unfair charges against Him, and calling on angels from heaven to destroy His enemies, Jesus prayed to His Father, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” This He did while nailed to a cross! Amazing!
God’s own Son would plead to His Father to forgive those who were killing Him? But such is the grace of God that His love is so great that it covers over and blots out our worst sins. We dare not forget that we too helped place Jesus on that cross because of our own sins.
We must have an attitude like His in our relationship with each other. None of us are perfect like Jesus was and we will, from time to time, offend one another with carelessly chosen words or bad deeds we have committed. Nevertheless, if we have in mind the character of Jesus, who did no wrong and yet forgave those who mistreated Him, we will better manage conflict. Not because we are always right, but because we are forgiven sinners who seek to be like Jesus.
Let the spirit of love, gentleness and forgiveness permeate all of your relationships. Gentleness and humility are assets in resolving conflicts.
Gracious God and Father,
Teach us to be like Your Son, Jesus, who in the midst of great suffering and death loved us enough to plead for You to forgive us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Rev. Dr. Don Johnson - Executive Director