Are You a Querulous Person or Peacemaker?
“As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife” (Proverbs 26:21). Take the following quiz to identify if you are a grouchy person or a conciliator. When you have conflict, do you:
· Argue to get attention?
· Want to be right or get your way?
· Shift blame to avoid accountability?
· Always want to have the last word?
· Lose control when you are angry?
· Find it hard to forgive or allow the sun to go down on your disagreements with others?
· Delay reconciliation or allow dissension to linger after an argument?
· Use malicious words or retaliatory behavior to get back at others?
· Find it difficult to relinquish your rights for the sake of peace or the good of a relationship?
· Pick at old wounds, dig up skeletons from the past; spew unrelated unresolved issues or utilize others' vulnerability and candor against them?
A “Yes” answer to any of the above questions suggests that you are a “conflict fire starter.” You are a troublemaker given that your answers are symptomatic of one with a tetchy spirit. Pray that God will deliver you from a cantankerous mentality.
When you indulge in any self-seeking behavior, you are gathering lethal ammunition to ignite a “conflict fire” or fuel a current one. Over time, your grumpiness will set off a conflict bomb that might blow up your relationships.
“Lord, why are My Relationships Falling Apart?”
How do you respond or react when your relationship with a peer, family member, neighbor, business associate, Church member or spouse is blazing with conflict inferno? Perhaps your relationship vessel needs an oil change or a tune-up. Often, disagreements erupt when people in a union are striving to give or get from each other, what only God can give them. When you attempt to reap what you have not sowed or withdraw what you have not deposited, your “relationship bank” will run a massive deficit.
Why did God Connect You to Others?
Do you know why God positioned you in your family? Why did He link you with those supposedly weird folks? Why did He connect you with your Church, Pastor, and fellow parishioners? Why did He link you with those at your job or business? Do you understand why God assigned you to certain people?
Not discerning why you are in a relationship can generate strife, unfruitfulness or even estrangement. When people do not understand the divine purpose of their linkage, they will be emotionally and spiritually unfertile. Also, the devil will feel empowered to enervate their ties.
Value of “Friends” and “Foes”
We need cheerleaders because they inspire, sow into our dreams, and minister to us. However, if we value only relationships that are aligned with our reality, we will never broaden our capabilities. We also need haters, freeloaders, and demagogues to enlarge our capacity to love, forbear, empathize, and forgive. We may have to love them from a distance and establish healthy boundaries to protect our dreams. Nevertheless, we need them as much as our allies. We need faultfinders, gossipmongers, meddlers, nay-sayers, and all kinds of people in our outer circle to keep us humble, broken, and contrite on our knees.
God uses everyone around us to contribute their quota while en route to our Canaan. While our supporters will fluff our egos, accept our vulnerabilities, and “shorten the distance to our goals,” detractors will intensify our focus, expand our faith, provoke us to greatness, mature the giants in us, make the Lion of the tribe of Judah roar much louder in us, and drive us into the presence of God.
"What can You do for Me?"
Often, when God opens a door for a relationship, one of the first questions we explore or ask internally is, "What can this person do for Me?" “How can I exploit his or her gifts, talents, and personality and use them to my advantage? It is always about what we can get, not give to others. Our unverbalized thoughts are:
"How can I benefit from you?" Rather than, “How can you benefit from me?"
“How can you make my life better? “Rather than, “How can I improve your life?" "
“How can I change you to fit my mental portrait of an idealistic trait?" Rather than, "How can I change myself to accommodate you or initiate change to induce whatever God wants to work out in us?"
"I need to identify where you are vulnerable so I can exploit those areas." Rather than, “I need to identify your vulnerabilities so I can understand how to minister hope and healing to you.”
People should enter relationships for love, friendship, companionship, goodwill, fellowship, communion, networking and for other noble reasons that will benefit everyone connected.
Manipulation is Witchcraft!
“Why should I not try to change others?” You are not the ultimate prosecutor, judge, teacher, juror or counselor to your friends, neighbors, brethren, co-workers, Pastor, colleagues, parents, siblings, or those assigned to you. Stop playing these roles in your relationships. Stop trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job!
By the way, has your past propaganda for behavioral adjustment been effective? Have you noticed that your past “memorandum of change” has only created far-flung frigid people in your life? Then why continue to sound like a broken record when your message is falling on deaf ears? Your devious actions will only add more fuel to the conflict fire in your relationships. Embrace the harsh reality of individual differences and learn to accept and celebrate others.
Wear Your Own Hat!
Each one of us is accountable for his or her contrition and internal makeover. We must focus on fixing ourself, not others. When you try to recreate others or superimpose your will on them, a conflict bomb will erupt. You will ignite a conflict fire when you pressurize others to idolize your expectations, fret about their weaknesses, and use intimidation to get your way. Equally, withholding acts of endearment to punish them for not meeting your extremely high standards will detonate a conflict bomb. Your ungodly conduct will drench your relationships with conflict gasoline and energize Satan to set them ablaze. Halt your unchristian behavior in the name of Jesus! Get on your knees and ask God to deliver you.
“It’s not my fault but Bob’s. He made me do it!”
This is just a smokescreen to cover up sin. Nobody can make you do what you totally resist. Are you utilizing the” blame game” to defend sinful behavior? Others may let it slide by to placate you. However, God will hold you liable! “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).
“I Love God… but Hate Nick and his Wife, Kate."
Our relationship with the Lord characterizes our relationship with others. Equally, our relationship with others personifies our relationship with God. How much you love God is directly proportionate to how much love you extend to others. Conversely, how much you love others hinges on how much you love God. You cannot say, “I love God… but can’t stand brother Nick and his wife, Kate." "I love God but can’t stand my Pastor, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, blacks, brown, or white people.”
If you really love God, you cannot help but love others. You cannot truly embrace His love and not love your siblings, children, neighbors, colleagues, and those He commanded you to consider.
“But We Can’t Stop Fighting!”
Yes, you can! Have you ever heard such a preposterous thing as the devil coercing people into a fight at gunpoint? People trade punches only because they elect to. Arguments will halt when you make a conscious effort to wash your heart and mouth with the word of God. Others will succeed in drawing you into a brawl only if you accept the boxing gloves they offer or if you agree to jump into the ring with them. However, if you shun conflict, they will have no choice but to take off their gloves and make peace.
“Bridget, why should I forgive those that do not deserve it?”
Do you deserve God’s mercy? Yet He pours out His mercies on you daily because He loves you. Are you worthy of His love and forgiveness? Yet He forgives and loves you unconditionally. We do not deserve the goodness, mercies, and blessings of God. Yet, He remains gracious to us.
Make These Confessions.
By the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit:
· I have control over conflict. Conflict does not rule in my home and relationships, in the name of Jesus.
· I resolve conflict speedily because I choose to stop fighting mentally, physically, and verbally now! At this very moment, I choose to sow tolerance and forgiveness.
· I halt whining, bickering, hostility and finger-pointing now. I confront my shortcomings. I lay down my conflict arsenal; relinquish my rights for peace; yield to the word of God and reach out to others in love. I choose to let go and let God. I choose reconciliation, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. I seal this declaration with the blood of Jesus and the fire of the Holy Spirit.
· Scriptural Confession: Job 22:28, Matthew 9:29, Matthew 18:18
· Praise and Worship
· Prayer Points
1. By the blood of Jesus, I choose to relate to others in ways that please God, not self.
2. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the devil will not use me as a pawn to ignite conflict fire in my home and other interpersonal
relationships, in the name of Jesus.
3. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I will not cooperate with the enemy to burn down my relationships, in the name of Jesus Christ.
4. By the blood of Jesus, I am a conflict firefighter, not a conflict fire-starter.
5. By the power of God, whenever there is a “conflict fire” in my life and relationships, I will not be the gasoline that will keep the fire ablaze!
Instead, I will be the water that will extinguish it, in the name of Jesus.
6. I use the blood of Jesus Christ to bring a separation between my interpersonal relationships and conflict, in the name of Jesus.
7. I draw a Jesus Christ bloodline between my relationships and chaos, in the name of Jesus Christ!
8. I will not be utilized by the devil to sabotage my relationships, in the name of Jesus.
9. By the grace of God, I will not be a hinderance to others, in the name of Jesus.
10. By the grace of God, before any conflict fire starts in my life, home or relationships, I will co-labor with the Lord to avert it with truth, love,
tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
11. By the blood of Jesus Christ, the devil cannot scatter what God has built for me!
12. I refuse to collaborate with the devil. I cooperate with the Lord to build my relationships, in the name of Jesus.
13. Righteous Father, please help me to sow patience, tolerance, and forgiveness in my children, spouse, home, Church, community, and
relationships, in the name of Jesus.
14. Oh Lord, help me to hide your word in my heart so that I will not sin against You. Give me understanding, and I shall observe your law with
my whole heart. Your hands have made me and fashioned me. Empower me to obey You. May your word be a lamp unto my feet and a
light to my path, in the name of Jesus (Psalm 119:11, 34, 73, & 105).
15. I seal these prayers with the blood of Jesus and the fire of the Holy Spirit.
16. Father, I thank you for answering my prayers.