Last Sunday night I preached a sermon about conflict. Conflict is going to happen. The closer the person that you have conflict with, the more difficult the conflict is going to be. Ugly things can be said. Hurtful things can be done. Sometimes months or even years of silence follow as a result of conflict. Conflict destroys opportunities for personal growth and it also destroys relationships with others. Most people focus on themselves during conflict, but conflict impacts and influences several other people around you as well.
Conflict almost always carries with it an opportunity for forgiveness. Forgiveness is tough. When I find it hard to forgive someone (especially someone who doesn't deserve it), it's helpful for me to remember how Christ approaches me.
Check out what King David writes:
"Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone."
Remember what John writes:
1 John 1:9
"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
God loves us so much that He approached us with a solution for the conflict our sins cause. He is willing to forgive!
So here's some advice from the apostle Paul:
"Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD."
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."
"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."
Bottom line, don't throw away the plans God has in store for you because of conflict. Make every effort to love folks around you like God loves you. Who can you approach today? Who do you need to forgive? Don't waste the time God has given you to be a light for Him by allowing conflict to remain. Forgiveness can be a powerful gift that you give during this holiday season.