Tag Archives: Relationships

Troublemakers

negative energy

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice,  have nothing more to do with him.  Titus 3:10

There are verses here and there that tell us what God thinks about people who stir up drama and division.  Here are a few of them:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  Romans 16:17

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.  Proverbs 16:19

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.  Proverbs 10:12

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.  Hebrews 12:14-15

Are you starting to get the picture?  Being divisive is driven by bitterness and hatred and it needs to be kept in check.  Otherwise, it is like a cancer that spreads and takes others down.  It must be dealt with.  Paul tells how to handle someone who is a spreader of drama and contention: warn them twice and then, if it continues, have nothing to do with that person.

Actually, Paul tells about a few different types that we are to have nothing to do with.  In 2 Timothy 3:5 he wrote to avoid people that hold to the form of godliness but deny its power.  In Ephesians 5:3-7 Paul lists a bunch of things, including foolish talk and crude joking, along with greed and sexual immorality, that if believers exhibit them to stay away from.

Peace and purity in the body of Christ are big deals.  It might seem radical to have nothing to do with people that spread strife, and some might call it unloving.  But creating and maintaining an atmosphere of peace honors God and promotes spiritual growth.  

Think about your own handling of something that doesn’t go your way, or of trying to work together in a group.  Are you the one who resorts to ‘taking your ball and going home?’  Do you back stab, manipulate or undermine decisions?   Do you have unresolved bitterness that you need to take care of so you can sow peace and not drama?  Do you have a “friend” who is constantly stirring up trouble that you need to have a critical conversation with?

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.”  Colossians 3:15

 


Handle with Care

But reject foolish and ignorant arguments, knowing that they breed quarrels.  The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.  2 Timothy 2:24-25 HCSB          

     gentleness quote.png

Proclaim the message.  Persist in it, whether convenient or not.  Rebuke, correct and encourage with great patience and teaching.  2 Timothy 4:2  HCSB

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5 NIV

We’ve been studying 2 Timothy in our women’s Sunday school class.  One of the challenges was to memorize 2 Timothy, which I took on.  Surprisingly, it only took me about a month to get it.  As I’ve memorized it and reviewed it since then, the verses about gentleness have echoed in my head over and over.

It must be something God wants me to develop, because I keep getting many opportunities to put gentleness into practice.  One of the responsibilities as an Elementary Principal involves dealing with parents.  Over the last few months, I have had a few parents who have been unreasonable, irrational and argumentative.  Sometimes it seems that they are just waiting to jump on someone, and the minute the slightest issue comes up, they pounce.

While these parents are chipping and chewing, these verses keep playing in the background.  I want to spit back and show them the holes in their thinking and actions.  Then there’s the part about not engaging in quarrels and rejecting foolish and ignorant arguments.  I call it “picking my battles.”

I don’t think that I am the only one who has to deal with argumentative, unreasonable people.  We all do.  How we deal with them reflects what is inside and Who we belong to.  One of the fruits of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5, is gentleness.  That means that as the Holy Spirit is alive and at work in us, gentleness comes out like an air freshener.  I wish it was just that easy.  There is an aspect of me diligently working on gentleness, or any other fruit or character trait that makes me more like Jesus than like my old, grumpy self.

I pray in the morning to put on kindness, compassion, gentleness, humility and patience as listed in Colossians 3.  But I still have to consciously be gentle in my interactions with difficult people.  It’s kind of like if someone else finds a job for you, answering a prayer for employment and money to pay the bills.   You still have to get out of bed each morning and go to work.  And once there, you have to fulfill the job expectations.  We have a part to play in the process.

So it is with gentleness.  God works in me as I call upon Him as I daily keep in step with the Spirit.  In Jerry Bridges’ book called “The Practice of Godliness,” he recommends memorizing verses about the character issue that you are working on. Hence, the above verses to memorize and to put into practice.  God, work Your gentleness in and through me today, in Jesus’ name!


People pleasers vs. God pleasers

 

god-pleasers

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

The following is a partial list from Vicki Champion (vickichampion.com) on characteristics of a chronic people pleaser:

  1. Automatically Says YES when they want to say NO.
  2. Experiences exhaustion from trying to be “perfect.”
  3. Thinks that if they “do” the right thing they will be “accepted” or “loved.”
  4. Fear risk or that they might be wrong.
  5. Bankrupts themselves because they feel undeserving.
  6. Says “I’m sorry” when no apology is necessary.
  7. Believe others’ happiness is their responsibility. 
  8. Chooses to be nice over being real.
  9. Never has enough time.
  10. Lives with irritability because of constant pressure.
  11. Tries to control everything for everyone with no regard for his or her self.
  12. Wonders why they get so little respect and everyone takes advantage of them.

Now let’s try a list of things that would characterize a God pleaser.

  1. Uses the Bible as their  guide, not what is popular or politically correct.
  2. Obeys God rather than men.
  3. Knows that they answer to God and looks to Him  wholeheartedly.   
  4. Makes it their aim to please God.
  5. Makes the most of their time, gaining wisdom from God and guidance from the Holy Spirit.  
  6. Puts God first.  
  7. Understands grace, meaning that they  don’t have to earn approval or work for their salvation.  What Jesus did was enough, so they walk in freedom.  
  8. Doesn’t worry about being liked and is willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

That’s just the beginning of what it looks like to be a God pleaser.   I know people who are Christians that don’t have this figured out.  They are always busy with silly things  and don’t end up having enough time for church or Bible studies.  They do things because they think it wouldn’t look right if they didn’t, being more concerned about what others think than with praying and asking God what He thinks.  I don’t like being around them because I feel like they are trying to control me or that they have an agenda for me and I’m a pawn in that agenda.

There is a bondage connected to striving in the flesh to please others rather than God. Galatians 5:1 tells us that there is freedom in being a God pleaser, resting in His grace.  Paul wrote, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Be free!


The Table

the table.jpg

 

In Beth Moore’s new Bible study book, “Entrusted,” daughter Melissa cites Benjamin Meyers and his book called Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams (T and T Clark International, April 2012).

In it, Meyers describes Williams’ view of theology.  Williams was the Archbishop of Canterbury, a leader in the Anglican/Episcopal church.  Though not from a background I typically draw from, his description of theology caught my attention:

“Theology…is not a private table for one but a rowdy banquet of those who gather, famished and thirsty, around Christ.  The lonely work of reading and writing is not yet theology but only its preparation.  Theology happens wherever we are drawn together into the congenial and annoying labour of conversing, listening, and disputing–in short, where we are drawn into a collective struggle for truthful speech.” xi

It seems that everyone has a theology of some sort about all kinds of things related to God, the Bible, the Christian life, and life itself.  It bleeds into our viewpoints about politics, relationships, how and where we spend our money, and many other things.  So often the development of our pet theories are formulated by ourselves in our own private Bible studies, our movie and TV watching, or in our families.  Or we latch onto a system of thinking or doctrine that was imparted by a revered author, pastor, or teacher.

But the working out of it has to be at “the table.”  That table, as Williams put it, “is not a private table for one but a rowdy banquet of those who gather, famished and thirsty, around Christ.”  If I am am famished and thirsty I will seek out a table to join with others to find Christ, to speak and to think about Him, and to marvel in His mercies.  That table is not a place for people to use Scripture as a weapon, to ramrod a particular theory, or to point out everyone else’s mistakes or flaws in thinking.

Melissa then cites Shauna Niequist in Bread & Wine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013) adds to this:

“We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend…We come to the table because our hunger brings us there…The table is a place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children…If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.” pg. 258.

The table can be a Sunday school class, a small group, a gathering of friends, or a group of bloggers.  My way of looking at the world can be developed in my own studies and contemplation, but I must be open to the refinement of those doctrines at the table–the place where I come for nourishment because I want more of Jesus in my life.  I need more tables in my life.  I get too busy and task oriented.  But oh, the joy of sitting down to a good meal, with fellow travelers who are committed to relationships and to the give and take of the family table.