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Handling Hurts with Honor - Girlfriends in God - September 14, 2020



September 14, 2020
Handling Hurts with Honor
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Friend to Friend
I’ve got lots of opinions, not gonna lie. You do too, right? I’ll go even one step further by assuming that your opinions and my opinions are not perfectly in sync. Agreed? 

Differences of opinion among people are more numerous than grains of sand in the ocean. Disputable matters in the church are no exception. Freedoms and convictions are not the same in every heart. Unfortunately, these areas of contention can cause conflict in our hearts, relationships, and communities of faith if we let them.

My family and I got thrown into a situation once that caused some harm and confusion. The perception and convictions of another was pressed upon us, and the consequences were anything but peaceful. Much of it was a misunderstanding about a teenaged social media post, but the reaction was layered in judgment and accusation. 

We agonized and prayed over how to respond in a way that would honor God. My family and I talked through flesh-led responses (revenge, defensiveness, etc.) versus Spirit-led responses (humility, love, grace, forgiveness) and, in all honesty, we also wrestled with justifiably inflamed feelings of hurt.

Paul spoke of these types of in-the-church tensions in the letter he penned to the believers in Rome. He explained that the freedoms we have in Christ are to be handled responsibly, in love, and that we are to be careful to not allow our freedoms to cause a person of weaker faith (or different convictions) to stumble. 

Let me be clear, this is not a conversation about Biblical activities that are clearly forbidden or addressed. This is about us creating our own rules and expectations of how other believers should or shouldn’t behave, think, or believe. {Hunker down, girlfriend, ‘cuz we are about to go there.}

Romans chapter 14 addresses this issue head on.

“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” (Romans 14:1-4)

Even when others wound us with accusations and differing expectations, God can and will tenderly teach and heal hearts that are intent to walk in His ways. In the tension of our past family challenges, I’ve looked for the lessons found in God’s Word. 

Paul went on to instruct Roman believers in Chapter 14 with this...

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (Romans 14:10-14)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:17-19)

These Scriptures lead me to search my heart: Am I determined not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of another believer? Am I making EVERY EFFORT to do what leads to peace? 

If the answer to either of these questions is NO, then I’m in violation of God’s Biblical standard and I need to humbly get with Him on the issue. {Warm and fuzzy, right?!}

David talked about this as well. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Living in unity doesn't mean we will all agree on everything. There will be as many opinions as there are fish in the sea. When all is said and done, however, we honor God when we make every effort to love well and align our heart with the teachings of His Word. Join me today?

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Forgive me for times when I’m more concerned about the conviction of others than I am about my own. Help me to accept other believers without quarreling or judging and keep me from doing or saying anything that would cause another to stumble in faith.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read Romans 14, then spend a few moments in prayer about what you read. When it comes to unity, where is the Lord leading you to take action today? Is there an apology that needs to happen, or forgiveness given?

If you want a personal Bible study plan but don’t have one right now, get a copy of the downloadable Psalm Adventure Bible Study Journal and get started today!

More from the Girlfriends
graceology-gig-girlfriends in godSPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Season 4 of the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith Podcast has begun! All new episodes of fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations are now available to encourage you while you walk, exercise, commute to work, fold laundry, eat guacamole, run errands or travel. 

These discussions will help you to live out and lean on the grace of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. click here to listen on iTunes or visit GwenSmith.net/Graceologie.

Seeking God?
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