Grace-Based

Conflict Resolution

yoda-quotes-2“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” - Yoda

As a disciple of Christ this is a very difficult subject to breach.   You pick the topic and the subject and I can show you hundreds of years of conflict that has even divided Christians and religions.  Turn on social media and look at all the venom and cruelty of words that are out there (some even from the church that is embarrassing to watch/read).  Some of the most controversial topics are as follows:

  1. Relationships (husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, sexual variation)
  2. Terrorism
  3. Death Penalty
  4. Global Warming
  5. Legalization of Drugs
  6. Healthcare
  7. Plastic Surgery
  8. Illiteracy
  9. Abortion
  10. Stem Cell Research

In the church, alone, we see each other argue over denominations, sexual orientation, baptisms (infant vs adult), politics and so on.  No one person or group is exempt from controversy.  The real issues are what we do when we reach conflict.  How do we resolve conflict and what does God expect from us through this process.  (Note: Already in some of your minds, you are saying, "No way" you don' t know what happened to me and how can you ever expect me to forgive?).

Personally, I can share numerous times when life has not been fair or when I have been made a victim.  Sometimes I still think about certain events in my past and quietly long for God's vengeance of these past wrongs, but then I am humbled and reminded that I do not want this negative attitude to turn back toward me instead of the aggressors.  God is everywhere at every time no matter how we try to spin that mind-blowing thought.  That being said, when this God sends His only Son to die for us and pay for our sins, then how can we say that we cannot forgive?

What does Scripture have to say on this:

Romans 12:17-21 ESV Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Steps to take (in no particular order)

  • James 1:19 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
  •  Matthew 18:15-17 ESV “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
  •  Proverbs 15:1 ESV A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  •  Matthew 5:9 ESV “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  •  Luke 17:3 ESV Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,
  •  Philippians 2:4 ESV Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
  •  Colossians 3:13 ESV Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
  •  Proverbs 16:7 ESV When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
  •  Leviticus 19:18 ESV You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
  •  Matthew 5:24 ESV Leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
  •  Ephesians 4:26 ESV Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
  •  Ephesians 4:31 ESV Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

As Yoda so eloquently states, Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate and Hate leads to suffering.  There is so much truth in these words that I can hardly contain myself in typing this.  Think about prejudices (= ignorance and misunderstanding ON BOTH SIDES - which births from fear and then anger).  Think about Sexual hot topics (homosexuality, cohabitation, pornography, you pick the vice - again, this all leads to suffering).  Pick your topic (being a victim = fear leads to anxiety and bitterness and then leads to anger and then suffering).

This is a big ask of all of our readers (including yours truly writing this) but think of the Author of lies and of hate (malice) and deceit - none other than that old Serpent (Lucifer, aka Satan).  He is the Father of all lies and loves to tear good in half given any opportunity that God gives him.  Think of those that do not know Christ (ignorance and fear which leads to anger and hate which leads to suffering) - this all happens for reasons beyond our comprehension.  BUT (there is a big BUT here) there will come a time when all knees will bow and every tongue will confess and God will judge those who are not in the book of life for their transgressions (not knowing His Son) and He will judge the saints for what they have done being His stewards (of His time, talent and treasures).

What are we waiting for?  Let's try to forgive as we have all been forgiven!

Thoughts?  Remember fear is the path to the dark side.  If God is for us, then who could possibly stand against Him?

Blessings,

D

 

 

Broken Arrow

One of the perks of being a Legacydad writer is a website called RightNow.org in which I can listen to books and messages by various speakers.  I am currently listening to the sermon series by Pastor Tony Evans called Meaningful Manhood.  Questions like why are we hear and what the men should be doing along their path of manhood.  This is a very good sermon series and he begins by quoting from the movie with Mel Gibson "We Were Soldiers" based on a true story of the US Army in Vietnam. [youtube id="TqKLtp6MRv4"]

At one point, when the Colonel is overrun by enemy troops, instead of evacuating the leader from safety, which is want the brass back home wants them to do, the Colonel (played by Mel Gibson) calls for Broken Arrow.  From the website www.military.com, we read this, "Before dawn, Moore orders his company commanders to meet him prior to an attack to rescue the still cut-off platoon. Before this meeting takes place, the PAVN launch a heavy attack which shatters the early morning stillness like a huge explosion. The attack is carried out by the 7th Bn, 66th Regiment and the H-15 Main Force Viet Cong Bn.  C Company of the Cavalry Battalion bears the brunt of the assault and is soon involved in hand to hand combat. The right portion of D/1/7 is also struck. The code word "Broken Arrow" is sent out over the radio by the Battalion Forward Air Controller. Within minutes, all available fighter bombers in South Vietnam are headed for X-ray to render close air support to "an American unit in grave danger of being overrun". A 3 hour battle that features non-stop 105mm artillery, aerial rockets, and determined American Infantrymen, results in Charlie Company holding it's ground in a stunning display of personal courage and unit discipline. But it pays a terrible price - no officers left and only 49 men unhurt. 42 officers and men killed; 20 wounded. Scores of slain North Vietnamese and their weapons litter the bloody battleground."

When we take a look at our daily jaunts of life as husband, father, employer (employee), church member, citizen then we have to ask ourselves these questions:

 

  • Do I believe in the word of God as the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
  • Do I believe that God is Sovereign?
  • Do I believe in Good and that there is evil?
  • Do I believe in Spiritual Warfare?
  • Do I believe in the saving and redemptive power of Jesus Christ?

 

If you answered these questions, like me, then you answered yes and most definitely yes to all of them.  (if you did not, please private message me to dante@legacydad.com and we can chat further). If you agree, then keep reading please.  Jesus Christ calls each and every one of us to disciples - being his disciples.  I do not want to mislead you, there is a cost discipleship, no doubt, how we spend our time, talent and treasure will be measured by Jesus Christ at his Judgement Seat.

What are these costs:

 

  • We no longer own everything (everything belongs to God)
  • We no longer have excuses (read Luke 14)
  • We no longer use terms such as "I" and "Me" (instead we use "May His Will be done")
  • We no longer are selfish
  • We have to consider the cost before we can truly follow
  • We have to not only "hear" the words of the Bible, but he wants us to do what they say!
  • Doing what is right (even when others do not see what we are doing)!

Sometimes, as men, we get caught into the daily struggles and routines of our lives.  The pressures, the stresses, the monotony of life:

  • We forget to date our wives
  • We forget to pursue our wives
  • We need to spend my quantity (instead of just quality) with our kids
  • We need to be more involved at home and at the church (it's not just about the $$$)

What sin, what circumstance and what situation(s) is holding us back from true discipleship?  How can we change this?  What needs to be done?

More to follow,

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to be a man, Part 1

This blog, www.legacydad.com,  talks a lot about manly things, dad things and building our relationship with God in order to be the man that he wants us to be.  Lance and Gary have talked in great length about their journeys (road maps) and right to passage for their kids/grandkids.  As the merchant in this group of three (one already home and two homeward bound) I have sat back and watched their progression and slowly ebbing and flowing what that will look like for my son.  I have a great dad.  A dad who taught me that a man needs to have his integrity and honor and to do what he says he is going to do.  He has taught me the value of being and living debt free.  I have not always heeded that advice, as you have read in several previous posts, but I can tell you the older that I get the more I treasure what he has instilled in me.  The world (Culture) tells us their definition of what it takes to be a man.  How to be a man and the pleasures that we can have by pursuing this manly stuff.  The wisest man in the world said that without God this is all vanity.  Lance had asked our readers some things that they wanted to hear from us and the question arose on how to be man.  An excellent question if I do say so myself.  There are three things that we need to concentrate on and I will address them all here shortly, but first, I want to match some things up with Scripture.  First off, turn to John 12:26, (ESV) “26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”  Jesus was asked by religious leaders of their time what was the greatest commandments.   Without missing a step he said the first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength.  And the second was to love your neighbor as yourself.  All other commandments hang on these two.  Did you catch it?  As a man we not only have to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have to center our lives in him.  Secondly, we have to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Here is a list of traits that we think a godly man exudes: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, Courage, Perseverance, Loyalty, Duty, Self Service, Honor, Integrity, Grace, Justice, Humility, Mercy and Discipline.  This is a life-long process and even the best men do not always get each of these cylinders going at the same time.  However, you will note that a godly man has a humility like no other.  A spiritual maturity that can only be explained by God’s redemptive love for us.  Some can argue that these traits are inherited while others say that they are taught and others say that they can be learned.  I like to think (and believe) that when we align ourselves with God and his will, then he gives to those who love him.  In the Book of James we are told to ask for wisdom.  If we don’t have an earthly father figure (or a father that was never around or let alone a good example) then we have confidence that we have a heavenly father that loves us so much that He sent HIS ONLY son to die for us.

Here is a self-examination to see where you are at on the road to how to be a man:

1)      Know that God has made each one of us our own way.  Each one of us are fearfully and wonderfully made.  For instance, Gary rightly coined us three:  The Cowboy, The Warrior and the Merchant.  We are all different but we share the same passions.  We love, we learn, we grow and we are comfortable in our own skin.  We have to know our self.  We have to be content with who we are and where God has put us.  That doesn’t mean that we cannot strive to be better, we just have to be content with each day God has given us.  We have to respect ourselves as men.

2)      We have to know right from wrong.  C.S. Lewis has excellent books on this (read them all to find out what I mean).   We, as humans, have this inherent code of right and wrong.  If you are fortunate enough to have kids you can see that as early as of two years of age the child knows right from wrong even if they don’t know how to convey the wrong – they know.  WE have to be able to admit when we are wrong (to our neighbor), we have to confess our sins and trespasses to our God the Father.  We have to admit to those we love when we are wrong.  We have to be able to expressly state that we were wrong, that we can say “I’m Sorry” and be able to express why we are sorry.

3)      What we put in is what we get out.  This is true in mind, body and spirit.  We have to make sure that we are in God’s word daily.  We have to pray continuously.  We have to repent from sin.  To repent means to turn away from and to avoid doing it again.  That being said, many of us think that we can serve two masters, that is, that we think we can have destructive sin in our lives and yet be in fellowship with a Holy God.  That is not possible.  We have to humble ourselves.  We have to breathe in the grace of God and walk out our salvation with fear in trembling.  Knowing that we can never earn our way to heaven, we then can confidently except this amazing gift of love and after accepting this incredible gift we can find that our faith is alive in both works and deeds to give thanks for this incredible gift of love. 

4)      Has True Grit –my dad always quotes Shakespeare to me, “not a lender or borrower thee be, pay thy debts or it dulls the edge of husbandry.”  To me, this was more than just about lending money.  With my dad it meant so much more:  Character, Integrity, and so on.  We have to be willing to be the stewards that God wants us to be.  The stewards of His Time, His Treasure and His Talent.  These are all things that God, the most high, has given us.   The best way to describe integrity to you is to say how we act when no one else is around and whether or not we make the right choice.  Job puts it best in chap 29 (Read Job 29 here).

5)      Memorize and lives Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

6)      Have a Kingdom Purpose – It is not about us, it is about God.  The sooner that we learn that the freer we are to make a difference in the short time that God has given us.  To love our neighbor, our wives, our children and so on.  To give without expecting anything in return.  To serve as a servant leader.

7)      Know your purpose – why are we here.  What am I good at?  Where can I serve best?  What has God made me to do? 

8)      Walk with other men – no one should do this alone.  That is not God’s plan.  He wants us in community.  He is the Trinity:  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  He knows community and he knows what we need.

9)      Take care of your vessels (body) – eat healthy, sleep healthy and make the right physical choices (exercise, diet, healthy choices).

10)   When in doubt of how to be a man pray – more to follow

 

Psalm 112:1-10 (ESV) The Righteous Will Never Be Moved

112 [a] Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,     who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;     the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house,

    and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;     he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. 5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;     who conducts his affairs with justice.

6 For the righteous will never be moved;     he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news;     his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,     until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;     his righteousness endures forever;     his horn is exalted in honor. 10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;     he gnashes his teeth and melts away;     the desire of the wicked will perish!

In order for us to move from Part 1 to Part 2 – let’s take another self test (please read Psalms 139).

More to follow on this awesome question:  How to be a man.

Thanks for the challenge!

Please give me your thoughts,

Dante