At one point in my Christian walk with God, when I experienced disagreements and conflict with fellow Christians, I would seat and wonder to myself how it could be the same Spirit working in two of us, I would say to God, “if this person really has your Spirit in them, they should have known that this would offend me, or this would lead to this”, and usually, a resounding silence will follow my thoughts and meditations.
Over time, I realised why, in those thoughts, I was always the victim and the other person was the one to be questioned.
There is a tendency for us as Christians to believe that we’ll experience less conflict amongst ourselves seeing as 1) we’re yielding to the work of the Spirit in us, 2) We’re committing to dying to self daily, 3) We know that our heavenly Father has called us all to live in peace.
These 3 knowings in our mental consciousness is what allows us entertain thoughts that we should be able to deal better and well with ourselves. But would we say this is the reality? I don’t know, but for myself, I can speak.
When conflict and disagreements arise in christian communities or between 2 Christians, everyone begins to wonder why, if we say we’re all operating by the same Spirit. The Holy Spirit coming to dwell in us after we’ve accepted Christ, does not mean an automatic death of our human nature, it just signifies a surrender of that nature to the work of the Spirit. So as a person yields daily to pruning, refining and plunging, the human nature, which is predominantly self-focused, begins to die and the Spirit begins to rule, which could be the difference between a carnal and spiritual man.
Until we become totally dead to our flesh and self, we still remain affected by the desires of the flesh and self, which usually only seeks out itself and good, it desires its own well being and is not too concerned by that of those around.
Two growing Christians are still capable of falling for the desires of their human nature, and more often than not, they don’t even realise it in that moment that they are being selfish but later, with conviction from the Holy Spirit, their eyes are open to it.
Knowing that we all are open to falling in this manner, until we are perfectly made dead to self, there should be a leniency that we offer each other in our relationships. There’s no progress in questioning another persons faith because of a disagreement or making mockery of a persons fault that is contrary to the work of the Spirit. Both responses only deepen hurt and within gaps.
One of the major reason of our coming together as believers according to the bible is to encourage and support one another, so if conflict and disagreements arise, encouraging and supporting each other out of it would be God’s desire of our response to it.
Conflicts and disagreements might mean a dominance of flesh sometimes, but it does not always mean the absence of God’s Spirit and so we have to be more gracious towards our brothers and sisters, especially in times on conflict. It is something I myself am still learning and I don’t know if we ever get to the end of this lesson so let’s keep yielding. A huge thing that always helps me is to remember that ‘it is to ones glory to overlook offense’. – Proverbs 19:11 But a deeper call really would be to die to self to the point where you cannot be offended. It is possible because offence only comes when self feels violated. If that self is dead, how does it become violated?
A dead person is unable to feel anything done to it no matter how grave it is, so here’s to dying to self even more.