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Girlfriends in God - Mar. 30, 2010

March 30, 2010 

Waging Peace 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Philippians 4:2-3 "I encourage both Euodia and Syntyche to have the attitude the Lord wants them to have.  Yes, I also ask you, Syzugus, my true partner, to help these women. They fought beside me to spread the Good News along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the Book of Life"(GWT).

Friend To Friend 
If we have a personal relationship with God then we have access to all of His power and all of His peace.  Now stop for a moment and read that statement again.  Do you really believe it?  I am convinced that we have become complacent about the power of God.  It is that same power that raised Lazerus from the dead, healed the blind man and made the lame man walk.  That same power is ours - if we know God. 

While His power is miraculous, we still live each day as if we were spiritual beggars without hope and without purpose because we do not understand and walk in the truth that God makes His power and His peace available to us.  The question then becomes how to tap into God's power and peace. Scripture is clear when it says that our only power and peace comes from God through consistent prayer, bible study and right relationships.

Paul understood that peace is often the casualty of unresolved conflict in relationships and in ministry.  In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul gives us a glimpse of just how serious he is about peace.  He was serious enough to call names and to call those names in front of the whole church. I don't know about you, but if I had been Euodia and Syntyche, I would have died of embarrassment and looked for the nearest pew to crawl under when Paul's letter was read.  On the other hand, their names may be the reason for their anger.  Euodia means "prosperous journey" while Syntyche means "pleasant acquaintance".  These two women were certainly not living up to their names.  Euodia and Syntyche were not bad women but women who worked in the church and had even worked with Paul.  But something had happened!  The scripture does not say what the problem was.  It wasn't important.  It usually isn't. Paul really did not care about the details.  He simply said to "fix it" and tells them to agree with each other in the Lord.  

Paul is not saying they must always agree about everything or that there will never be conflict.  He is telling them that their bickering is destroying the peace of the church - dangerous ground on which to stand.  Unresolved conflict is the enemy of peace and has no place in the church.  Yet, as women in ministry, much of our time is spent on this very issue - conflict resolution - and the reason is simple.  Sin is alive and well - in the world and in the church.  If we "followed wholly" after God, seeking to become fully devoted followers of God, peace would be the norm instead of the exception. 

The world has its own system for working out conflict.  It is called retaliation and revenge!  But God has a different plan. 

Proverbs 27:6 "Faithful are the wounds of a friend."

The "wound" is confrontation for the good of friend.  If you love - you level!  Loving confrontation is a gift we bring to healthy relationships and one of the most important tools in ministry. Our refusal to confront someone because it makes us uncomfortable is like watching in silence as someone we love walks off a dangerous cliff.  It is sin.  God calls us as women in ministry to confrontation.  However, there is a right way and a wrong way to confront someone. 

My husband, Dan, was leaving for a trip, a time always filled with tension.  Something he did made me very angry, but I did not want to confront him about it before his trip, knowing we would not have time to discuss the problem.  My solution was to save my confrontation.  I waited - and gave my anger ample time to grow into a full-fledged, volcanic eruption.  Several days later, my poor unsuspecting husband walked in the front door, suitcases in hand, exhausted and so glad to be home.  Well, I fixed that!  I let him have it - in front of the kids.  In other words, I broke every rule of confrontation.  I could easily have waited until Dan had taken a nap, the kids had gone outside to play or I had managed to garner a better attitude.  Better still, I could have dismissed the whole issue for what it was, an unworthy place to invest my emotion energy.

Successful confrontation is always done in love.  If we enjoy or look forward to the confrontation, our motive is wrong.  The harder the truth, the more love we must use to say it.  Here are a few rules for confrontation done the right way:  

Confront with the right motive. 

Confront at the right time. 

Confront with the right audience. 

Confront in the right way.

The time to prepare for conflict resolution is now.  The choice to handle every disagreement according to the rules of healthy confrontation must be made before the disagreement or conflict occurs.  Decide right now to resolve all conflict.  And if you are causing conflict - stop it!  Peace is at stake.

Let's Pray 
Father, thank You for the peace You bring to my life. I celebrate You as the Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords. Please help me to be a woman of peace. I pray that You will help me learn how to confront others in a way that pleases and honors You and restores others.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Examine the relationships in your life.

Is there any conflict that needs to be resolved?

Are you willing to take the first step toward restoration?

More From The Girlfriends 
As children of God, our relationships should illustrate God's love and peace. When conflict occurs, we need to be willing to initiate the process of resolving that conflict. I want to challenge ever Girlfriend to wage peace - in your relationships, your home, your family and workplace. Do not surrender the peace of God to anyone or any agenda. 

Do you struggle with a difficult relationship in your life?  My book, Sandpaper People, may offer the help you need. (Also available in CD or MP3)

Need Bible Study? Join women from across the world in studying the Bible by enrolling in my weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.

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