When Dealing with Relational Conflict
From the series Inner Peace
Is there a person in your relational world who is absolutely making you nuts? Would you like to learn how to get a perspective that’ll free you up and relieve the turmoil in your heart and mind? Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you.” Very likely, when we pray, peace is often what we ask for - peace in the world, peace at home, and maybe most of all, peace in our relationships - but what did Jesus mean when He said His peace? And how could that make a difference in our problem relationships today? If you or someone you know is struggling with a difficult relationship this message is for you.
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About this series
How to Find it and Keep It
Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you.” Very likely, when we pray, peace is often what we ask for - peace in the world, peace at home, and maybe most of all, peace in our relationships - but what did Jesus mean when He said His peace? And when life gets hard, really hard, we have two options. We can become consumed with worry – which is what most people do, OR we can trust God, who tells us not to worry or be anxious. God promised His children supernatural peace - even in the midst of conditions that threaten to absolutely overwhelm us. In this series, Chip reveals how God’s peace works and how you can have it – regardless of your circumstances.More from this series
Is God at the center of your life? Is He at the center of your relationships, your decision-making, your finances, your family? I did not grow up as a Christian, probably like many of you. And what I can say is maybe one of the greatest experiential things that happened in my life when I received Christ as my Savior, I surrendered and really made Him the center.
And by “the center,” I mean you pre-decide, God, I am going to do life Your way. I am going to obey what Your Word says about…and then you fill it in. Here’s the greatest thing I experienced: Inner peace.
I didn’t have to perform, no people to impress – peace. Peace with God; peace with myself. And we are in a series here called Inner Peace: How to Find It and to Keep It.
And on the front of your notes, there are three basic approaches. And you may be involved in one or all three. But let me just highlight them so we can get very, very clear, because God has a plan for inner peace for your life.
Approach number one is what I call the “inward approach.” The three key words here would go something like this: meditation, relaxation, and center. If you Google “inner peace” as I have done, what you will find is the flow will be very Eastern in its thought. It will be, “You need to learn to meditate.” The inner peace comes from within you and what you need to figure out is how to find this calm within through some techniques.
The “outer approach” is a bit more Western. And the three key words would be: control, achieve, and conquer. It’s a little bit more the American approach, the Western approach. In other words, if you want real inner peace, you need to perform, you need to achieve, get into a good school, make a good living, have a good family, whatever your goals are – fulfill those goals.
And when all the things work out in a way that you can control and circumstances line up with your desires, ahhh, then I’ll have peace. I’ll have peace when I…and you fill it in. And then this crazy thing happens: we get that and then we want something else.
The third approach is what I call the “upward approach.” The key words here are: trust, depend, and obey. This is a supernatural peace, it’s a gift, it’s when you make God the center, He literally comes and takes up residence inside of you and He will give you a supernatural peace, because He actually is in control and you can trust that.
The dictionary defines inner peace in this way. It says, “It’s the absence of disturbance and hostility. It’s free from internal and external strife.” When the world thinks about peace, the dictionary talks about peace, it’s external hassles or internal hassles are removed. It’s something that you don’t have.
By contrast, Scripture has a very rich word, you’ve probably heard it, shalom. It’s the Hebrew word. And the New Testament takes the content of that and imports it into some very important Greek words.
But shalom is a lot more than just the absence of conflict or disturbance. Shalom is a wholeness. In fact, I put it in your notes, there are four aspects to the kind of peace that God gives.
One, it is to be complete or sound or whole. It’s emotional, physical, mental wholeness. It’s even including your health.
Second, it has to do with harmony in relationships. You have a shalom in your relationships. There’s a peace, there’s not a friction.
Third is there is a success and a fulfillment of purpose. Part of peace is you were made by God, He has a design, there is something He wants you to do. There is a peace, there is an alignment that what you were made to do, you are actually doing.
And then, finally, there’s a sense of having victory over your enemies. All throughout the Old Testament, the peace or the shalom of God – it’s a fallen world, there is difficulty, there’s hard stuff you go through. In the midst of that, God is a warrior who gives shalom to His people.
In fact, on the very last night, when Jesus was on the earth, imagine how fearful the disciples were. He has washed their feet; He has talked to them; He has, multiple times, told them He is going to die, rise from the dead.
And then notice this word of encouragement He says to them, “Peace I leave with you,” and notice, “My peace. I do not give you what the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled; do not be afraid.”
And in their minds, their hearts, He says, The shalom of God. I am leaving. But the soundness of your heart, your mind, your soul; victory over your enemies and the difficulties that are coming. Harmony, My very peace I am implanting, I am giving it to you. And you experience that by the Holy Spirit living inside of your life and then you allowing Him to orchestrate your life according to His will.
There are four things that I think destroy inner peace. There may be a lot more, but four for sure. One is when you are bombarded by technology. The second is relational conflict. That’s what we will talk about today. Of all the things that can rob your peace; a relationship that isn’t right.
Third is fear. Fear of the future. Fear of something bad happening. Fear of what is happening in the world. And finally, anxiety. All these things, that anxious mindset.
And so we are going to go, for the next few weeks, through Philippians chapter 4. It will address each and every one of these.
So are you ready? If you have your Bibles, open to Philippians chapter 4, and you’ll need it for the context. We are going to look at the first five verses. And in the first five verses we are going to find that the apostle Paul, in context, has been a part of planting a church in Philippi.
The church begins to grow, Paul gets in trouble, He ends up in prison, He gets beaten, there’s an earthquake, the Philippian jailor comes to Christ, there’s a revival, and this is one of His favorite churches. He loves this church. They have this great relationship. It is one of the early churches that financially supported him so He could do ministry full-time.
But there’s a problem. There’s a little relational conflict, there’s a little tiff going on in the church. And there’s not a bad person. There are these two ladies who really love God, really love Paul, have been greatly used by God, and are absolutely followers of Jesus.
They have one, small problem. They don’t get along. There’s a division between them. And what you know and I know is when two people aren’t getting along and there’s friction, it impacts them. But it impacts the small group, it impacts the church, it impacts everyone.
And so in verses 1 through 5, the apostle Paul is literally going to lay out a very clear plan of God’s design or instruction about how to resolve relational conflict.
Now, lest we have a seminar on relational conflict and you pull out a pen and say, Oh, this is quite interesting and I took Psych 201 and I’ve done some counseling courses and, wow, this is very interesting. This is in the Bible. That’s not the goal.
Here’s the goal; I want you to answer this question. What one person on the face of the earth today do you long to be at peace with? Past, it could be a parent, it could be one of your kids, it might be the person you’re married to and they’re not here. It might be the person you’re married to and you’re both sitting here going, You know, man, the relational conflict is us. It could be someone who ripped you off in a business deal. It could be someone in a small group. It might be you’re actually at this church because of a relational conflict in some other church.
But if there is one person that, as far as it depends on you, you could just put this thing to bed and there would be inner peace that, when this person’s name comes to your mind, when you would meet them at Costco or Safeway or run into them at Target, that you would have peace, that the junk…
It might be a family member that you haven’t talked to in five years or ten years. Okay, now, have you got their name? You got it in your mind? I want you to listen to God’s instructions through that lens so it’s not just academic.
The context, he says, “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love, whom I long for, my joy and my crown, this is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.” I’d like you to underline just the word brothers, love, long for, joy, crown.
And the context here in chapter 3 is, in verse 17, he has talked about a group of people who were walking with the Lord and they got caught up and they started drifting away from the Lord. And he reminds them, he goes, One, it breaks His heart. And then second, he says, Our citizenship is in heaven. Our identity is in heaven. We are not living just for now, but forever.
And then he talks in the end of chapter 3, “Not only is our citizenship in heaven, but our hope is in a God, the Lord Jesus, who has control of all things, and He is going to transform our lowly bodies.” And he is giving this perspective, because he has talked about the difficulty in life, and He says, You need to go through the difficulty in life with this big picture, eternal perspective.
And then what I want you to just get out of verse number 1, it’s a transition from chapter 3 to chapter 4. Listen to his heart. Sometimes a relational conflict, we feel this, They’re down on me, get this right, straighten up. “I love, I long for, my joy, my crown.” I want you to hear, this is a pastor’s heart who has two people that aren’t getting along. He loves them both. And he says, The way we are going to stand firm is that we need to think about this bigger than this little conflict. We need to remember we are a part of God’s bigger plan.
And then notice the plea for unity is verse 2, “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.” And circle the word agree. He is basically pleading with these two ladies, Look, since I left, I heard about this, there’s a problem. The word literally means, “to be of the same mind.”
In Philippians 2, the apostle Paul would write, “Be of the same mind toward one another, that was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself,” literally, He veiled His attributes, “and became a servant.”
And what he is saying, exact same word, “Be of the same mind in the Lord.” You don’t have to agree – your personalities – you don’t actually even have to really like each other a lot. You can have legitimate differences, but I want you to be of the same mind in the Lord. What is your purpose? Why are we here? What’s going on? Don’t let petty differences or different personalities or a little wound, whether intended or not – don’t let that separate you. I want you to be of the same mind. Let’s get the big picture focus.
Third, he is going to call in for some reinforcements. There’s a request for competent counsel in verse 3. He says, “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women,” and then he describes the kind of women they are, “who have contended,” that’s a strong word, “contended at my side in the cause of the gospel.”
They were laborers in the church. They were giving their lives away, “…along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are written in the book of life.”
And so he is asking for some competent counsel to help these two ladies solve this, because obviously they haven’t been able to solve it on their own.
In verse 4, there is a command about their relational focus. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” And, by the way, it’s a command. Literally, it’s, “Find your joy, your focus, in the Lord” – how often? When? What does it say? Always.
I talked to a young gal last night who, I’ll tell you about a little bit later, but whose father, the day before her fourteenth birthday, abandoned the family. And she’s never heard from him or seen him since. And she came down after the service crying and just said, “What do I do? I just don’t know what to do.”
Well, we are going to learn what to do. But what I can tell you is, is that she is almost sixteen now – in her mind and in her heart, until somehow her father changes and something happens, her life has been a mess. And God was saying to her, I want you to find your joy, I want your relational focus to begin with Me. People will always let you down.
And then, finally, notice in the last verse, he says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all,” and then he gives a reason, “the Lord is near.” Put a box around the word gentleness. There are just a handful of words in the New Testament that…
Imagine them a bit more like a rainbow instead of a color. There is not one English word. And so let me give you a rainbow of colors. The word gentleness means: forbearance, reasonableness, geniality, considerateness, generosity. It has the idea to go beyond justice, to go beyond the letter of the law.
One commentator said, “It’s sweet reasonableness.” It’s to yield your personal rights for something that is bigger.
And, see, here’s what you need to remember about relational conflict, especially in God’s family. It’s bigger than just your relationship with the person, it’s bigger than your self-esteem, it’s even bigger than your emotional health. When you are a part of the family of God, when there’s division among God’s people, according to what Jesus taught, the world can question the validity of Him and the gospel when they see us divided and at each other’s throats.
That’s pretty heavy, isn’t it? Remember the very last night? He washed their feet, Judas had left the room, and then He said, “I, being your Teacher and Lord, have done this. Blessed are you if you do the same to one another.”
And then toward the end of chapter 13, in that room He says, “A very new commandment I give unto you, that you disciples love one another the way I have loved you.” Well, how did He love them? Sacrificially, giving His life, laying down His life, not claiming His rights, not waiting for us to get on board. He took initiative.
And then He says, “By this the world will know that the Father sent the Son, by how we” – what? “love one another.”
And so we live in a real therapeutic, psychological day and we all have our relationships and, They did that, or, We did this. As a follower of Jesus, all I want you to get, this is way bigger than how your life is working out. And this is way bigger about, What they did and they were wrong.
I know they’re wrong! Right? When you think about this relationship, you’re not thinking, Wow, I totally messed up and the reason it’s all messed up is because of me. You’re thinking what? You have a division with this person because of what they did! And I want you to know I agree with you.
All the problems I have ever had in any relationships with any person, it’s always been their fault. Don’t we all think like that?
So what he is going to say is that’s your lens, and as long as that is your lens, reasonableness is saying, “You know what?” There is a willingness to yield, there’s a willingness to realize, Maybe this person is seeing it from a different angle. Maybe there is at least some minute level of truth. Maybe I participated in how this thing went down. And even if it’s – are you ready? If it’s ninety-five percent their fault, which it probably is, and only five percent mine or yours, what this passage is saying, you take your five percent and you own it in humility, because the relationship matters more than your rights. The relationship matters more than who is right and who is wrong.
What he is going to do now is give us five very practical ways to resolve conflict. Number one, resolve to stop procrastinating. I’d like you, as you’re sitting in your chair, to literally say, I am going to address this this week. In your mind, in your heart, as you’re listening to me, whisper to God, God, I don’t want to, but I will address it this week.
Because unresolved conflict produces stress, it affects other people, it affects you and your life, it affects your emotions, it affects your thinking. And you’re commanded like I’m commanded in Romans 12:17 to respect, and the word means, literally, to consider, to ponder. “Respect what is right in the sight of all men,” believers and unbelievers.
You don’t have to agree, but just like, Okay, this is how they think and this is their background and this is what they said and if I’m really trying, this is where they are coming from. Just respect it. Just consider what is right in the sight of all men.
And then here’s the command: “Be at peace with them” – but here’s the condition, “as far as it depends on you.” You know what? Hundreds of you are going to take steps toward resolving relational conflict, and we are going to have amazing, amazing stories for many of you. But for some of you, you’ll do everything God says and they won’t respond at all. But you’ll now have peace because you’ll say, You know what? As far as it depends on me, I did everything I could. And then you can let it go.
Second, from verse 2, reevaluate your expectations. Some of us, especially inside the church, we have expectations of the people. First, that good Christians who really love one another should never be at odds, should never have heated disagreements, should never really argue, should never have intense disagreements. And since we do, something is wrong with them. Right?
You need to reevaluate your expectations. There’s a reason in Scripture God gives us some examples of very godly people. In this situation, is there a bad woman and a good woman? No. They both serve, they both love Jesus, they are both born again. But they don’t get along.
New Testament, greatest example, the apostle Paul was a murderer. He has a vision of Christ, he becomes from Saul to Paul, a radical conversion. Because he is murdering people or orchestrating it, none of the disciples want to have anything to do with him.
So another follower of Jesus named Barnabas, whose nickname was “Son of Encouragement,” comes along and believes Paul, introduces him to the Church. Paul ends up getting some private training from the Lord, and then the Church is birthed among Gentiles in Antioch, Barnabas gets Paul, and they do this ministry.
They are buddies. He’s the guy that cares for him. They are praying one day, Acts 13, and the Holy Spirit whispers and says, “Set apart from Me, Paul and Barnabas,” and they go on the first missionary journey.
And Barnabas is a leader and Paul is the gifted speaker. And they have this amazing experience. And then as they minister together, they go on a journey and they take a guy named John Mark who is young and he is vulnerable and it gets hard. And so he bails out and quits.
And so they continue on and God blesses it. Well, they are ready for another missionary journey and the apostle Paul goes, “Okay, we need to go visit all those churches, see how everybody is doing.” And Barnabas, now, this is not in the Bible. This is Chip, okay?
Okay, so don’t go like, Where is this? Okay? This is me. So Barnabas says, “Hey, Paul, this is great, this next missionary journey. Let’s take John Mark, because I have been working with him, he’s in my discipleship group and I know he kind of messed up, but we all mess up. Think about where you were when I met you. I think he’s got a lot of potential.”
And Paul goes, “He’s not going.” And I can hear him, Barnabas, “What do you mean he’s not going?” “He’s not going.” “Why?” “Because here’s what matters. God called me to reach the Gentiles. The mission matters. I really care about people, but when you mess up, the mission is not going to be at risk for one guy. Sorry, Barnabas, he’s done.” Whew.
Barnabas is going, “What are you…are you kidding me? The ministry is people. We have to take him. We have to care for him.” And it says they had such a strong schismata can you hear a word there? It’s what we get the word schism from.
And it’s like, bam, bam! Now, what I can tell you is, God really used the missionary journeys of Paul, and near the very end of Paul’s life, he calls for John Mark to bring him his parchments and his coat, and he makes this comment near the end of his life, “…because he is of great value to me and to the kingdom of God.”
Don’t you think there are some people who are choleric, high D, visionary leaders that God made that way because the mission has got to go forward? And He made some people who are tender counselors, caring, mercy-oriented, and they are going to make sure people get loved. And don’t you think the combination of that makes for a great church?
But don’t you think the combination of that makes for some real conflict? These are two godly guys who really get after it. And you know what? If you think that just because people are Christians and, I was in this church, or, I was in this small group, or, my brother-in-law says he is a Christian, or, that lady, she’s got that fish on the back of her car and she did this to me.
You know what? Can you just readjust your expectations and just realize, you know what? Now, sometimes it’s just sin. But sometimes it’s just different. And if we are immature and have bad expectations, we characterize those differences and we say, They are bad and I’m good. And there is division.
The second expectation is that we think, again, it’s that Pollyanna view is that, Well, if we all really love one another and I say I’m sorry and she says she is sorry, well, then we should have lunch together like we used to and we can co-lead the Bible study again and Thanksgiving dinners will be the same with my brother-in-law who did this and did that.
I don’t think Paul and Barnabas, I think they forgave each other, I think they agreed to disagree. But I don’t think it was ever the same.
Third, get outside help. Get outside help. When you’re in a relational conflict and your attempts, I’m assuming you know Matthew 18. Matthew 18 is if someone sins against you, if there’s a problem, you go to them privately. If that doesn’t work, you take a friend and go with them. If that doesn’t work, you take it and get outside, competent counsel from the church.
But here’s the deal. If, when you’re trying to resolve something with someone, and it escalates and there’s more tension when you try and solve it, guess what it means? You two can’t solve it. You need outside help. When my wife and I were in that situation, a year or so into our marriage, we had to go get outside help.
And the only thing that kept me from getting outside help – it’s called a marriage counselor, by the way, I’m not trying to be tricky – is my pride. Here I am in seminary, preparing to be a pastor.
And so I went and got outside help and paid ninety-five dollars a session for twelve sessions, with money that I didn’t have, that was the greatest investment.
Five years later, we hit another little bump. It wasn’t bad, but by then we just realized when you hit a stalemate in a relationship and you can’t resolve it, most people bury it. Instead, get outside help. These two ladies need someone with skills.
Now, when you get outside help, it needs to be someone you both respect, they need to be godly, they need to know God’s Word, they need to be wise, they need to be objective so that as they arbitrate and help you all, it’s not like, Well, you brought your friend, or, you recruited this person and they see it your way. It’s got to be someone that you both can say, “You know…”
Because when reconciliation occurs, something has to happen in both people. And that third party has to be someone that you believe can really help.
Fourth, don’t let one relationship ruin your life. There are two kinds of relational people – there may be more. But in these kinds of situations, I have found, there are some people I call “rescuers,” and some people I call “warriors.”
Rescuers are, “This relationship isn’t right. We’ve got to fix it! And until it’s fixed, I mean, really, really fixed and everything is just the way it used to be, it’s not right!” Let it go. There are certain relationships that you’re not going to fix. You can agree to disagree, you can have forgiveness, you can have some reconciliation.
And then there are warriors. They are justice addicts. “Until he sees where he was wrong, I can never get along with him. Remember? He actually said this and we all know that is wrong.”
And we are talking about, now, if it’s a doctrinal issue, if it’s an integrity issue, it’s a moral issue – of course. But we have ongoing conflict in relationships, in families, marriages, and the body of Christ because some people demand that it gets fixed in a way that they think is right, or in a way where the other person really can see and own it and realize they are wrong.
And here it is. Let your gentleness, let your consideration, be willing to receive less than is due. Jesus said there is only one reason why anyone ever gets a divorce. Is that amazing? Do you know what that reason is? Only one reason. Jesus said because of hardness of people’s hearts.
And, see, what happens is there is a little offense and you get hurt or you’re wounded, and so then you, well, usually you start with a little sarcasm because you don’t want to deal with the real issue, so you joke about it. Or you’re passive/aggressive and you know this makes them crazy.
And so you pay them back – wound, wound, wound, wound. And then a veneer of hurt and wound and callouses start. And, see, the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. And pretty soon you want to so protect yourself and you don’t get outside help and your heart gets hard, and pretty soon, you don’t care. I don’t care what he does, I don’t care when he comes in, I don’t care if she’s affectionate or not affectionate.
And then you play the substitute game and you either pile into your work or you focus in on the kids or you take on some hobby or, often, find someone at the gym who will listen, or someone at a bar who finds you attractive. And you believe the lie that it’s going to be so much different. And it plays out with tragedy.
Don’t let one person ruin your life. I sat on the front row for about forty-five minutes with this young girl and her mom and I said, “Forgiveness is, first and foremost, it’s an act, all right? If you wait on your dad to come back and make your life better and love you, you may wait your whole life. Don’t give him that much power. But you can choose to forgive him because God has forgiven you, and you release him. But that’s just an act, okay? It’s an act of the will. It’s a choice.”
I said, “Then you enter into a process called “forgiveness.” And this is going to sound really crazy, you will not feel like doing it,” she shared some of her anger fantasies and ways that, in her mind, she would love to hurt her dad. And we all do that stuff.
And I said, “After you forgive, then on a daily basis, I want you to pray for him. And then it’s probably not wise for you to have personal contact at this point. But find a way to bless him.” And then we looked at Matthew 5 where Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Or Romans 12, the second half, where we rejoice with those who rejoice, and if our enemy is hungry, we feed them.
I said, “Now, this isn’t for him. This is for you. This will free your heart. And so there’s this journey where you’re going to keep praying for him.” And I said, “Your early prayers will be, God, give him what he deserves. I understand that. Or, Cause that girlfriend or whoever he is hanging out with…”
And I said, “But what I am going to ask you to do is pray real prayers as God leads you, like, Bless his health, his business, his work, his life. Just genuinely get there.” And I said, “Maybe anonymously you could just…this is for you. Maybe you send him a gift card that he doesn’t know where it comes from, to go out to dinner someplace. What you need to do is you need to bless him, because God causes His grace to fall on the wicked as well as the righteous. And you’re never more like your heavenly Father, according to Jesus, than when we extend mercy and give people what they don’t deserve. And what is going to happen is your heart will heal.”
And I gave her a few examples, but in one or two that I shared, it took two years and I said, “Every time I took the Lord’s Supper with this one person who betrayed me, I did this. And then I remember about two years later, I heard something positive about them, and before I could think, Oh brother, that stinks, because, see, that means my heart still has vengeance.”
See, what we do is we give this person to God and say, You’re just. It’s all going to play out. I am giving You that job. I am going to take the role of doing what Jesus did for me. And I said, “You’ll hear something positive about your dad and your immediate response will be you’ll have joy in something good that happens to him, and then you’ll know you’re done. You forgive him.
“And the person that will be free is you. And what your father will experience, whether he ever sees you or knows all about this, he is going to experience the grace and the mercy of God through you just the way…”
And for some of you, that’s going to be your journey. Because as I talked to her, I said, “Is one relationship ruining your life?” And she just began to weep. Can I ask you? Is there an ex-mate, an ex-boss, a brother, a sister, one of your kids?
The reconciliation may never be what you long for it to be, but it might. So that’s the first step.
Finally, step five, if you can think of them as steps is, remember that a right response is more important than being right. A right response. You can’t control the other person. As far as it depends on you.
See, here’s the deal where you’re going to have inner peace. If you do the right thing, you can say, Lord, I have done all that I can do. How they respond or don’t respond is not your concern. But are you going to respond with gentleness, forbearance, and love and mercy?
Now, by the way, if you’re not thinking, This is idiotic, then you’re not listening well. They are actually going to be kind and bless and pray for people that did this, this, this, and this? Yeah. Why? Because freely we have received from Him, Jesus, and freely we give.
And it’s impossible to do this, apart from the supernatural grace. That’s why it’s not an inward journey of finding some center inside of you. It’s not some performance where you can show them. It’s a supernatural peace given by God as you treat this person and you take the steps, as far as it depends on you, exactly the way that God, through Jesus, has treated you. Does that make sense?
So let’s apply this right now. On a scale of one to ten, rank the level of stress and concern you currently experience from this relationship. Four? Seven? For some of you, It was a two until I came in here! I hadn’t thought about it in ten years! Believe me, it’s still messing with your soul.
Second is, what price are you paying to allow this to continue? Think about it. Think of the price you’re paying inside. Think of the price in related family members or related people or just the lack of peace.
We have walked through the steps in question three and I think in question four it’s pretty clear which relationship it is. Let me ask you: who could help you? Most of us will not have the courage to take this step unless we verbalize, I think this is what I need to do, I don’t want to do it, I need your prayers and strength and courage to help me. Who might be someone who could help you? Got it?
Now, by the way, crossroads, some people in this room are going to take that to heart, make a commitment, take the first steps, and you will experience great peace. And some of you will listen and hear and just go, I just can’t bring myself to do that. And I will guarantee in six months or six years or ten years from now, God will bring this right back around and you will pay and others will pay a huge price.
And here’s the thing: it’s really not about you, because when Christians have conflict with other Christians, you are screaming that we don’t love one another the way Jesus loved us. And so the world has every right to question our gospel. And I don’t know about you, but that brings a level of sobriety and willingness to do whatever God says.