“Are you going to sit down?” The words seem simple enough; most people would not think these words seem inflammatory. These words, however, were the beginning of another strife filled evening in our home. It is said 7% of communication comes from the spoken words and the remaining from voice tone, posture, facial expressions, etc. What I perceived in the unspoken 93% of that comment produced a reaction in me that was unchristian— to say the least.
In the past few weeks my husband and I have been finding ourselves in strife with one another far too often. I believe this can be somewhat self perpetuating as the same issues, if not ever resolved, come up again and again. Also, both partners may begin to assume the worst of one another instead of the best.
Later that evening, I found myself in a familiar scenario. Once again I was going to bed with unresolved anger between my husband and myself. This is a sad and lonely place to find oneself.
God often gets my attention in the quiet of the night when I awaken and allow life concerns to fill my mind with worry. After this evening filled with strife, I found myself awake in the middle of the night with a bible verse running through my mind; Romans 12:18. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Upon reflection on the nights issues and the verse God had just laid on my heart, I responded. “God, what you are asking is too hard. You know how we come at things from such different places— how can I do this??”
As you probably know, whining to God does not work. The next verse that came to my mind was Philippians 4:13. "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." “Thanks for the reminder God.” And just so I really knew I wasn’t off the hook he gave me one more verse to contemplate, Matthew 5:48. "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
God was calling me to step up in a major way. He was calling me to get the strife out of my life, no excuses or loopholes provided.
This is a very tall order. Upon searching the scriptures for verses on strife, I soon learned this topic is mentioned often in the bible. My findings were sobering.
Some contain warnings for wives; "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." (Proverbs 25:24)
Others contain warnings for husbands; "Husbands in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:7)
Some contain warnings for both; "Any Kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall." (Luke 11:17)
Gentle reminders; "It is one’s honor to avoid strife." (Proverbs 20:3)
Calling us up higher; "And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (2 Timothy 2:24)
Leaving us no room for excuses; "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Romans 14:19)
Thankfully God has given us his word to provide guidance and his spirit within us to provide strength. Armed with both, I will start on the path to a less strife filled life.