Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife?

(by: me)

I used to wrestle quite a bit with my sin of answering a fool his/her folly (Proverbs 26:4). I would (and sometimes still do) let lies and unkind words provoke me to anger and get into arguments. I was, and sometimes still am, quick to retaliate and slow to forgive. Yet in regard to the situations about which I am speaking Romans 12:19 says, “Beloved, NEVER avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’" (Emphasis added.) It is not my place to get involved when strife is being stirred up. “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1. ESV.) Boy does that scripture speak straight to my heart!!!

God’s word talks pretty harshly about strife:

Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

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

Proverbs 13:10: By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.

Proverbs 15:18: A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 16:28: A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 18:8: The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Proverbs 20:3: It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.

Proverbs 28:25: A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched.

Proverbs 29:22: A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Isaiah 54:15: If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.

But He also tells us how to deal with it.

1 Peter 4:8: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

James 5:20: …let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Proverbs 26:20: For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

Proverbs 17:19: Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 17:14: The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

Matthew 5:25: Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

Proverbs 22:10: Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.

Proverbs 30:33: For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

Matthew 18: 15-17: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Proverbs 12:26: The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Romans 16:17: 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 them.

So how can I bear by myself the weight and burden of someone and their strife? By submerging myself in the wisdom and instruction of God’s word! He never gives any of us a trial that is uncommon to man. Whether it is a tribulation of physical and/or mental illness, a sick child, strife, being sinned against by a loved one, being persecuted, temptation, financial hardship, the loss of a child and/or loved one, etc. God is faithful, and he will not let us be tempted beyond our ability, but with the temptation he also provides the way of escape, that we may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
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