Monday, June 27, 2016

Promoting Peaceful Relations Amongst People

Appreciating the Value of the Bible to Enhance Godly Relations: A Teaching from the Lord Jesus

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:15-16 NKJV).

We would like to repeat here what we previously shared on this website and what the Lord Jesus told us: that everything said or done in His name carries equal importance. This week’s message is very important because as Christians, our work of ministry involves being peace-makers as we Scripturally seek to resolve conflict situations between brethren. Additionally, our message is useful to both believers and non-believers alike, since the Word of God has been given for the benefit of ALL mankind (John 3:16; Matthew 4:4). However, we also acknowledge that not everybody is a Christian or faithful believer and follower of the Lord Jesus. For the benefit of Christians, you might find the Scriptural guidance in this message refreshing as you seek a deeper relationship with the Lord. And what better way to know the Lord’s will other than by the Holy Scriptures! (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Overcoming Human Weaknesses Through Obedience to God's Word

Naturally, we are all weak and inclined to sin (Romans 3:23) and our strength to overcome sin comes through our knowledge and acceptance of God’s righteous requirements (Romans 7:7-9; Genesis 4:7). In other words, our knowledge of God’s requirements enables our conscience to respond in a corrective way (Psalm 25:8).

Way back in the beginning when the Lord God sought to establish a relationship with man and prior to the giving of the law, the Israelites had no knowledge how God expected them to live until they received the Lord’s commandments which set a relationship with God in motion (Deuteronomy 8:1-2;Joshua 22:5). In acknowledging their new relationship with God, the children of Israel pledged their obedience (Exodus 19:8). Those who followed the Lord with all their hearts and might developed an obedient spirit and attitude (Numbers 14:24).

In like manner, as Christians, we have the word of the Lord and the Holy Spirit to help us conquer our sinful behaviours, our fears and discouragements thereby giving us the confidence to overcome the world and its pleasures (1 John 5:4).

Improving Relations Through Scriptural Instructions

It is often a painful experience to relate to Christians who simply ignore their scriptural obligations. What I mean is that when some Christians are involved in a dispute situation, some often react in a reciprocal way. In such circumstances, nobody wants to back down or submit to the other out of fear of the Lord (Ephesians 5:21); instead, they both want to be right. When Christian brethren are involved in a disagreement, both are bound by scriptural obligations and duties to submit under the authority of God’s Word where it is used as a rule.

Being stubborn and unyielding to correction only leads to divisions and hateful feelings which cause a hindrance to a joyful Christian relationship, and which in return leads to a hindrance in our prayers (Matthew 5:24). Brethren, if we seek to please the Lord and receive answers to our prayers, we should first seek deliverance from our grudging hearts. In my experience in ministry work, I have been privileged to act as a mediator between the disputing parties, both Christians and non-Christians. In my successful cases, I found that some parties accept Scriptural authority and pursue peaceful relations out of love and fear for the Lord (Romans 12:18). In sharp contrast, I was unsuccessful where one person or both people's were disobedient to the word of the Lord, resulting in them harbouring ill feelings towards each other.

In the Bible, we read how Moses encouraged and instructed the Israelites who were involved in disputes by seeking the will of the Lord as a solution to their disagreement (Numbers 9:8). Similarly, when the prophet Jeremiah counselled the remnant of Israel after the fall of Jerusalem, he instinctively sought the Lord’s decision on the way forward for the remaining Israelites (Jeremiah 42:1-27).

How The Lord Helped Us Settle Internal Disputes Amongst Ourselves

As uncomfortable as it is mentioning this to you, I will briefly share for the sake of helping others. My wife and I had some sharp disagreement in the past over many issues, but by our strong love for each other and for the Lord, we are still lovingly holding together. There were often times when my wife and I sought the Lord’s favour and vindication for our actions. In reply through Charis, the Lord would show no partiality or favouritism, but correct us by pointing out to us the Scriptures on how we reacted disobediently to Him and failed to heed His word. He would graciously show us that if we had acted in complete humility and submission to each other, it would not have resulted in the hurt we caused each other. Afterwards, upon reflection to the Lord’s rebuke, we found our actions defective.

In another incident, we had two sisters who shared a home with their children and who always got involved in disagreements and quarrels. When we brought their matter before the Lord to promote peaceful relations between them, the Lord would issue a rebuke to them both with Scriptural content, commanding them to obey His Word. To further explain the Lord’s message, my wife and I would often invite both sisters to a discussion to encourage them Biblically to love, tolerate and embrace the Lord’s correction for the sake of their salvation.

Being human, we always tend to give a sympathetic ear to one person over the other, and I soon found out that this was very displeasing to the Lord. He rebuked me for accusing the other falsely and taught me that taking sides blinds people from the reality of Scriptural correction. As it is, the Lord instructed me to love, respect and rebuke equally, and by so doing I promote His word and represent Him to people He sends to me to guide.

Finally, dear brethren let us not be tempted to avoid each other when we expressed differences to each other. Instead, let us humbly allow the word of the Lord to guide our conscience and relationship with each other. By so doing, we would be able to hear individually the loving voice of the Lord as we prepare our hearts in humble service to the Lord and the brotherhood.

To receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please start by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Regards,

Brother Glenn.