Relationships are the most important thing the Lord has gifted us. A relationship with Him first and foremost and then relationships with each other.
Anybody who has been in any sort of group setting…. especially a church, or a group that is together to do good or pursue the Lord… knows there will always be hard dynamics to overcome. It is almost inevitable that in time a divisive spirit will enter. Often it enters at what feels is THE worst possible time. Recently I was seeking wisdom on how to pursue unity and rise above divisiveness and I had a difficult time finding some practical help. But the Lord brought to mind a blog I wrote many years ago on Pursuing Unity. So taking those lessons He started teaching us years ago and expanding on it… here are some practical tips to pursue unity, overcome divisive spirits, and walk-out hard relationship dynamics in a Godly way.
- Remember and Reflect on the Lord’s undeserved mercy and grace in your life. Acknowledge before Him that you know you are imperfect and in desperate need of His continued grace and that He is High Mighty Perfect Glorious and you.are.not. Let yourself be humbled by His undeserved grace. We can not give out to others what we have not first received ourselves. All love mercy and grace originates with the Lord. FILL UP and be nourished by Him! Every hour! Be Still and Know that I am God Psalm 46:10
- Accept God’s sovereignty. Whatever has entered your path, whatever hard thing is in front of you, whoever is in your life… He has allowed it. It will be a process between you and the Lord to figure out how long a relationship is supposed to stay… but if it’s entered your life, He has allowed it. Accept His molding, His sharpening, and the reality that we only will become more mature and better stewards of people around us by going through hard things. Look beyond the person and the circumstance and focus instead on journeying with the Lord through this. Make it less about the “problem” or person and more about you and the Lord and what He wants to teach you. Be honored to bear the weight of suffering to become more like Jesus. You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…Gen 50:20
- Along those same lines…Remember who the true enemy is and where the battles are really being fought.. PRAY 10 times more than trying to solve through thinking or talking. Pray for good and blessing for all people involved. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
- Slow down your tongue (texting fingers) and breathing. The enemy wreaks havoc through haste. To be led by the Spirit, especially in hard relationships, we need to keep slow. Listen for His red flag warning nudges that are telling you to pause and listen. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19
- Move all hard conversations away from text/email and on to phone conversations and in-person conversations. There’s too much room for miscommunication via text or email.
- Before sharing anything with others make sure you have vented to the Lord and given Him much time to minister to your mind and heart. After processing the situation with the Lord, the 2nd person to share and ask for prayer and wisdom from is your spouse. Be very careful to not share the details of discord with others in the group. Asking for prayer is wise. Giving details with the intent to win people to your side is gossip. Before sharing, assess your own *intent* and think through what your *desired result* in sharing is. This is something I’m still trying to process and think through with the Lord.
- All the quieting of mind, mouth, and fingers will need a release. Get your body moving! Run hard, lift weights, play with your kiddos. Get out nerves and adrenaline. It’s so important to release tension and frustrations.
- Accept the outcome. Let people go. Do not cling too tightly to your own expectations. Do not try to control others. It’s hard enough to control self. Let people think wrong thoughts of you and don’t try to over-explain yourself. Let the Lord be your defender and only give clarification for understanding when the Lord releases you to do so. Let people judge you wrongly. Leave that judgment between them and the Lord.
What could have started as an ugly divide… the Lord can use for good. Do not fear people nor dark spirits. You are protected by the Lord Jesus and He is sovereign and He is always sufficient.