God is big enough to guide us through perplexing interactions, even with fellow believers.
Sometimes I think it might be simpler, though not necessarily easier, to face outright confrontations than to puzzle our way through convoluted conflicts that make pretenses of politeness.
If an enemy raised a battle flag, we’d pick up our shields and stand our ground. We’ve pretty much got that down.
But when someone garbs himself (or herself) in friendly garments and sociable language, only to knock out our kneecaps when we aren’t looking, we can be caught up in the fray before we recognize it.
And what can we do, if this onslaught comes from someone with whom we have no choice but to interact?
If the apparent attacker is tied to us as family, a close friend, a fellow church member, or an everyday coworker, we may be stuck in one another’s path. We cannot simply claim we are holding up healthy boundaries and move on.
That person will still be there tomorrow, pounding on our hearts. He (or she) may even call it tough love.
But here’s the thing.
Tough love only works, if the love is unquestionable and unshakable.
Without love, tough love is simply tough. Confrontation without compassion is merely contention.
Someone in my closest circle launched such an assault on me last week, lobbing grenades of veiled criticisms and even an ultimatum in a group email. Frankly, it took more willpower than I could ever muster on my own, just to refrain from responding. Lord knows, that would only have prolonged the battle, which I refused to join. Thank God, He held me back.
The Lord is there. And He knows.
He sees every hurtful action, and He hears every heart-ripping word. He promises to right every wrong and to protect those who belong to Him.
who can be
(Romans 8:31b, NIV).
Many may oppose us – for all sorts of reasons. But, when our closest companions raise confrontations, simply for the sake of contention, can they really make it stick?
Eventually, won’t our God of love find a way to right the wrongs and encourage restored unity among those who belong to Him?
Today’s Bible promise would say so.
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