Misunderstandings and differences of opinion
happen amongst the best of us.
Misunderstandings can be a powerful weapon
that Satan uses to divide people.
Misunderstandings come in many different forms...
such as: a look, a comment, failure to speak, etc.
It would be naive to think
that when we have Spiritual emergencies
and there is confusion, temptation, division,
and lies that Satan and his diabolical destroying agency,
with their voices of condemnation...
are not on the scene trying to wreak havoc.
Satan, the adversary and enemy, tries to overwhelm us
with his irrational, accusing spirit.
Many quarrels are foolish...
not necessarily because people are foolish,
but because the devil makes fools of us
and then sits back and laughs.
So, why do godly people quarrel?
The simple answer is... none of us are perfect,
and the devil is working night and day
to try and cause us to quarrel...
that's Satan's job and he is working... non-stop.
If the truth be told...
many of the problems we face with one another
stem from having different perspectives
and a lack of mutual understanding of those perspectives.
In order to get past this,
there needs to be clear understanding on both sides.
We should first try to understand the other
One way of accomplishing this
is by paying attention and genuinely trying
to understand their concerns.
Pretending to listen while dismissing
what they say in our heads...
will only add insult to the injury.
Quarrels can cause division... they can separate us.
Satan is very divisive,
and one of the oldest tricks in the book is to...
"Divide and conquer."
Satan knows that he can keep us in
a perpetual state of conflict...
as long as he can keep us divided.
From a Biblical perspective we know that
no one is perfect; yet, we are so quick
to misconstrue a single action
to the detriment of our very soul.
More often than not, we are the prosecutor,
judge, and jury when we think that another
has committed a wrong toward us.
Some quarrels arise because people complain
that others are not doing... what "THEY" are doing.
Jesus compared people to children playing in the street
and demanding that others should do as they did...
dance when they danced...
and mourn when they mourned
In other words,
we think that what we do is the right thing
and how we do it is the right way,
and anyone who does it differently from us is wrong!...
Is that right?
Controlling people are everywhere.
We see them at work, social gatherings,
in our family and in personal relationships.
Controlling people can have a much bigger impact
than they should.
Controlling people often assume that
they understand how another thinks,
even when they actually don't.
If we can't even understand ourselves fully,
how can we think that we can understand
the who, what, when, where, how, and why of others?
All of us have to admit that we have no sure way
of knowing what is going on inside anothers’ mind.
Controlling people may become frustrated
because their constructed image of another
is at odds with what the other person consistently says
and who that other person really is.
Even when we think our intention is pure and good,
there may be things there... that we're unable to see.
If we see this, we can be teachable ourselves
and merciful to others.
People so easily get caught up in quarrels
even without really understanding
what they're quarreling about!
This is especially true when we have
a prejudice towards someone.
Then whatever he or she says or does
is seen in a bad light.
Some people can rage on and on
even when the other party does not respond in kind,
but it takes two people to quarrel.
Perhaps it's more correct to say
that if one man tries to quarrel
and the other man doesn't respond in a similar way
the quarrel will lack the necessary fuel
to get fanned up.
The more mature we are... the more we can help
in bringing peace by responding
in a gentle and merciful manner.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
there will be ranting and ridicule
and no satisfaction"
One of the greatest reasons we have for quarrels
is that it is extremely difficult for us humans
to see our own faults.
When we deal with others we see their faults,
but hardly any of our own.
If only we could see our own faults,
and stop getting worked up about the faults of others!
The bottom line is...
only God has the right to judge.
He knows everything about us.
He knows what we've done,
and what we've not done.
God knows the particular handicaps each of us lives with,
the specific temptations we find difficult,
our special tendencies, the strengths He has given us,
and the damage the devil has caused us.
The one who has seen himself in God’s light
becomes a different person.
He loses confidence in his own assessment of things
and becomes slow in passing opinions.
He recognizes that there could be other ways
of looking at things and other ways of doing things
than what he is used to.
He tries to put himself in other people’s shoes
to understand how they feel.
May we always remember
and never forget...
He makes room for the others to be different from him.
The devil loves to see us quarreling with one another.
He's the one whispering into our ears
about what the other person is like...
and why he or she is doing... or not doing something.
Let us not be gullible before Satan.
When we have difficulties with others... let us remember
that we may have misunderstood the whole situation.
Also we can be merciful to others
when we feel they've misunderstood us.
In the eighteenth chapter of Matthew,
Jesus talks directly to His followers to tell us
what our fellowship and friendships are to be like.
If a brother or sister in the faith hurts us, angers us,
saddens us, or does us wrong in any way…
we are to go and talk to them about it directly, one on one.
Not only does this manner of working out difficulties
lead to forgiveness,
it also works things out in a graceful way.
The talk can be done quietly…
lovingly... and gracefully.
One may ask...
why is the matter to be first kept private between the two?
Because our love for our brother requires it.
If we are sincerely committed to love for our brethren
as Jesus commands (John 13:34),
then even if a brother has sinned against us
or has done us wrong, we will not want to maliciously
injure that brother's credibility within the body —
that might hinder his restoration.
If this person's transgression against the offended is
circulated within the body, but later he repents,
many in the body will have already
judged this brother and the accusations
will have damaged their opinion of him.
By spreading our accusation against an offending party,
it builds a consensus against them and makes it difficult,
if not nearly impossible,
to restore that person to the body should they repent
and desire to make things right.
Also, many alleged trespasses between brethren
are a result of "misunderstandings."
We need to first investigate the facts and find out for sure
whether a trespass has really occurred.
This is another reason why we're to first go privately
to the brother or sister in question...
to confront them with the alleged offense
and hear their side of the story.
If we disclose the offense to friends in the body,
we may later discover that the matter was
only a misunderstanding.
But by then, their reputation will have been damaged
by our allegations.
When we make the mistake of telling a third party first…
misunderstandings can fester,
and souls may be lost... and Satan triumphs.
Let us try to understand the accusing nature
and history of Satan, the evil one, the first con man.
Satan is always on the prowl trying to sell us a product
that he knows he could never provide.
Satan continues to lie to people by promising them
that if they follow his lead…
they will be happy or whatever else they want to hear.