Sunday February 9, 2014 – Strife is severe conflict that we allow to take place in our homes, work and churches. We must always seek resolution in dealing with each other, remembering God’s redemptive purpose and desire for us to restore relationships with each other when they are in strife.
There are two kinds of reality, two kinds of truth. The one is the truth that actually happened, and the other is the perceived truth about how somebody perceived something happened. – Pastor Dwayne Terry
How to Stop Strife
A Practical Guide to Building, Part 05
Strife: bitter, sometimes violent conflict or dissension
Psalms 55:12-14 – If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. 13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.
Nehemiah 5:1-5 – Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. 2 Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” 3 Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” 4 Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”
Deuteronomy 23:19-20 – Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.
Nehemiah 5:6-7 – When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. 7 I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them
Proverbs 16:32 – “It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army.”
Steps Nehemiah Took To Deal With Those Who Cause Strife
1. He appealed to their love.
Psalm 133:1 – “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
2. He reminded them of God’s redemptive purpose.
Nehemiah 5:8 – and said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.
3. His appeal was based on God’s Word.
Nehemiah 5:9 – So I continued, “What you are doing is not right.
4. They must remember their witness.
Nehemiah 5:9b – …Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?
5. He appealed to his own actions.
Nehemiah 5:10-11 – I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them–one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”
6. He appealed to the judgment of God.
Nehemiah 5:12-13 – “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.” Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised. 13 I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.
Principles For Relationships In The Church
1. There is a link between how we treat each other and the effectiveness of our mission.
2. Relational problems are inevitable and we cannot ignore them.
3. We must take the initiative to restore relationships whether we want
to or not.
4. God’s reputation is at issue when we have conflict.
Action Steps for Stopping Strife
1. Do not be afraid of righteous anger. 2. Think before speaking.
3. Meet face-to-face.
4. Seek resolution.