October 17, 2015
READ: 1 Samuel 26:1-25
May the LORD value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles (v.24).
We anticipated an amusing evening at church. Whether it would be the antics of our own kids or someone else’s, we were confident the child driven event would elicit laughter. Sure enough, laughter rang out, but my husband and I sat stunned and tried to hide our dismay. What had appeared to others as a funny comment had actually been a joke at my husband’s expense. Though we had felt tension with the couple in charge of the programme, the episode exposed the depth of the chasm.
Conflict invariably enters our relationships. The greater revelation of our spiritual maturity is not if we ever experience it, but rather how we handle it. If we don’t understand our identity outside of others’ opinions, then every disagreement becomes personal. This lack of security was the very thing that plagued Saul and caused him to treat David as a threat rather than a son (1 Samuel 18:7-11, 26:25).
But when our identity is rooted in God and His view, then we’re free to love others and work through conflict in a positive way. As Solomon wrote, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones” (Proverbs 14:30, see also 15:1, 29:8). Though Saul was trying to kill him, David gained the victory when he honoured God by sparing the troubled king’s life. David understood that he didn’t have to destroy someone else to feel stronger or more self-assured.
When we understand the meaning of the cross, we value the lives of those who seek to destroy us or our reputations, whether or not they will ever value ours. God’s love compels us to do as Jesus instructed in Mark 12:30-31: love Him with every part of who we are and love others as we love ourselves.
365-day-plan: Acts 7:30-60
Read Philippians 4:1-2 and consider what Paul was asking Euodia and Syntyche to do.
How can we be honest with people in times of conflict while also speaking the truth in love? How can we show respect to others in a practical manner even when we disagree with them?