Biblical Womanhood · Conflict

Wisely Dealing With Conflict

“I Just love conflict!

said no one.

Ever.

We all avoid it. We’d rather put up with someone, overlook what might be rightfully ours, or look the other way at a grievance, just to avoid the stickiness a confrontation would bring. While it is wise at times to turn the other cheek, to overlook a transgression for the sake of love, there are times/situations that demand a confrontation.

I was encouraged recently to read what sort of seems like a little side story in the life of Abraham. In Genesis 21 we read the beautiful answer to Sarah and Abraham’s long-awaited prayer request – the birth of their son, Isaac. God “did as He said He would do.” What a God!

Then the chapter moves on to tell about a little “sticky situation” that involves Abimelech the King and Abraham. We read about it beginning in verse 22. See the bold verse to read about the conflict.

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:
23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
24 And Abraham said, I will swear.
25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.
26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.
27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.
28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?
30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.
31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.
32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.
34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.

Wells were very important because water was scarce because Canaan had no significant rivers. A well had been dug on Abraham’s land. It was rightfully his, but it had been taken away. I find in this passage some good advice when dealing with a conflict.

  1. Approach the situation under the control of God’s Spirit and not in your flesh. Abimelech told Abraham in verse 22, “God is with you in all you do.” He didn’t come with an angry spirit. His attitude made it obvious that he was walking with God.
    It’s sometimes hard to get our emotions in check, but we will be received so much better if we will be walking with God so that we come with a peaceful, loving spirit.
  2. Ask questions, rather than making an accusation. A question will soften the heart, but an accusation hardens the spirit. It appears that Abraham probably asked Abimelech about the well because of his response in verse 26.
    Saying, “You always,” or “you never!” will only make a person bristle up and be on the defensive. Asking a question like, “It seemed like this is what you were saying, am I correct?” is so much softer than telling it like you assumed it was.
  3. A loving gesture, such as a gift will pacify anger. Abraham gives a generous gift to Abimelech. He gave sheep, oxen and lambs. The gift was to prove that the well did indeed belong to Abraham. It was kind of like a consolation prize! It sealed the deal they made. The matter was taken care of and this was proof.
    The gift is not to be a bribe. This is a gesture of love and given with a heart to mend the wrong.

    Years ago I had a neighbor who was just a mean-hearted woman. She was offended by my husband by something that was totally innocent on his part. We tried and tried to explain and make amends. Finally one day the Lord put something on my heart that I could do for her and I decided to make one more attempt at breeching the situation.
    Because she kept her young grandchildren every day, I thought she might appreciate some toys my girls had outgrown. I knew her grands would enjoy these toys that were still in great condition, so I boxed them up, along with a loaf of bread. I crossed the street, my heart pounding. When her husband opened the door I asked if I could speak with his wife. He looked quite surprised, but went and got her. She came to the door in a huff. I quickly offered her the box of toys for the children. She started to resist, but I implored,
    “I’d love for your grandchildren to have these. They’re all cleaned up and in perfect condition.”
    She finally did reach out and take them. I assured her that we truly wanted to be friendly neighbors and were here for her, should she ever need us.
    That was the last time I spoke with her before we moved. Though we were never “close friends,” I’m thankful that the last time we had a conversation, it was a civil one, and that I had done what the Lord prompted me to do in an attempt to mend any offense.

Sometimes the conflict will be mended, as it was in Abraham’s case. Sometimes, as happened in my case, only our own heart will be mended because we did what the Lord required of us in this difficulty.

When it was all said and done, Abraham Called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. One commentator said,

Even through this time of conflict in his family and among his neighbors, Abraham kept a real, live walk with God. Conflict did not drive him away from God, but he allowed it to push him closer to the LORD

Your conflict can do the same thing for you! Just keep walking with the Lord.

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Anger · Conflict

How To Respond When People Irritate Us

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

We had an evangelist friend who would often say, The ministry would be fun if it weren’t for people! We are all probably tempted to say that about life in general! Life would be fun if it weren’t for people! Why?

  • People irritate us!
  • People get in our way!
  • People do sinful things that hurt us!
  • People say sinful things that wound our hearts!
  • People don’t do what we want them to do!

This has been the case since the beginning of Adam’s family. As we look at I Samuel 25 we find an exciting story with a quiet plea, an angry, blood-thirsty man, and a beautiful, wise woman. Are you familiar with David and Nabal?

David was angered because Nabal wouldn’t feed him and his men after they’d been kind to him. This infuriated David so much that he set on a rampage to kill all of Nabal’s household. His reactions was a bit overboard, right? Did he have a right? Was there a cause for his anger?

Let’s look inside the details of this event.

Who is involved in this story?
Nabal – Scripture tells us in I Samuel 25 that Nabal was a rude, foolish man. He will live out the meaning of his name.
David – David has been told by God’s servant, Samuel that he would be the next king. David is a warrior, having grown up as the youngest son in his family, he learned to care for the sheep and defend them against attacks by bears and lions.
Agigail – She is wise and beautiful, but has the sorrow of being married to foolish Nabal.

At the onset of this story, we can learn some valuable lessons:

First, God made you and fashioned you just as you are. He knew that David was a small, insignificant lad who could be a mighty warrior for Him. Even though he had been denied the privilege of being “measured” by Samuel to be the next king, God knew where he was and He knew what he was.
God knows where and what you are, too! He has equipped you to fulfill His will, as He did David. He will protect you and guide you so that will can come to fruition.

Second, we don’t have to plan or scheme to get revenge. God can and will handle the difficult people that need chastening.

Third, God is sovereignly at work, even when we cannot see that He is. We can trust Him to help us if we will wisely wait. This is clearly seen in both David and Abigail’s situations.

Lastly, we cannot control others’ actions and words, but we can control our own.

Our precious Savior is our supreme example in this kind of suffering. Remember that he was misunderstood, verbally abused, lied about, and then crucified for the sins WE have committed. I Peter 3 tells us ~

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Whoever it is that is irritating you today, remember to look at Christ’s example and suffer well. You don’t need to “let them have it.” There’s no benefit in trying to figure out a plan to get even. By the power of God, entrust the issue and the person to him. Quiet the anger by giving a soft answer that turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) Watch God diffuse the situation and be glorified!

How would God have you to respond to the difficult person in your life so that you are following Christ’s example?