Psalm 55, 74
2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11
How do we overcome the conflicts that arise from our human nature and human interaction?
“Let death come upon them;
let them go down alive into Sheol;
for evil is in their homes and in their hearts.”
And that is what David wished upon his friends!
My biggest fights and most hurt feelings have come from disagreements with friends, but I cannot think of anyone I would wish into Sheol. Indeed, I rarely get angry at people who are not friends. I do not have the emotional connection with a stranger to invest the energy David’s level of rage demands. Today’s passages have in common discord between known people. Some of the complaints are listed, some are not, but the important lessons come from the response to discord, for as long as we are human, conflict will happen.
The Psalms bring in conflict between friends. Equals of David are causing him much distress with things they are saying. The Lamentations record conflict between God and his people. The Corinthians passage cites an unnamed church member in conflict with Paul and others in the church, and the Gospel passage targets church leaders distance from God. The examples describe conflicts between people and other people, between people and God, and between people and other people and God.
In some of the conflicts, we see the resolution. In others, we know the resolution, though it is not presented in the passage, yet in others, we are left with the resolution in the hands of God. God gives us the example – seek reconciliation as he does with his people. The passages in Lamentations come in a time of deep despair of the Jewish people, but in the end, their relationship with God is restored. Paul continues this direction in his letter to the Corinthians, telling them to forgive and console the one with whom they are in conflict.
Poets, authors, philosophers have opined the price of anger and hatred. The Bible too warns us of the harms that come from holding on to these feelings. Paul adds to the price by reminding us that not only is the pain internal, but that it opens the door for Satan, the sower of strife, to disrupt the work of the faithful. Let us consider the costs we pay for our conflict and seek the way of resolution. Just as God is able to forgive us in all our sin against him, we are called to forgive others as completely and work to mend the relationship.
Let us open our hearts to your healing power and wrap ourselves around the harmony you desire for the work of your kingdom.