2 Timothy 2:23-26 says: “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
This scripture holds special meaning for me. A friend game it to me after my first husband left me — he’d met another woman with two kids and decided that his relationship with them, rather than with me, was the one he really wanted. It was a deeply painful time, but these verses gave me the clarity I needed in that dark and lonely valley. I kept my conversations professional – I spoke with a calm tone of voice and carefully chose my words. In this way, I did not ignite stupid arguments that would have only fueled more conflict. I began praying for him, his girlfriend, and her two little girls with the hope that God would intervene and change their lives and restore them to him. Praying for someone who has deeply hurt you is extremely difficult. Yet, over time, it not only brought peace into my life, I was eventually able to forgive them and completely move on. Now, when contention or conflict comes at me, especially from close family or friends, I am able to see beyond the flaming darts to the 1 who ignites all controversies – the devil. He is known as the Father of All Lies, and he is a Trash Talker, an Oppressor, a Manipulator, and an Accuser. He does not know the future, yet he projects F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) into our thoughts, in order to get us to take our eyes off God.
The devil’s twisted words are divisive and destructive, and he speaks through people to get to us. As opposition comes at us, we need to keep in mind that the people projecting contention and strife are simply the mouthpieces – not the source – of the conflict. And our prayer for them should be one of hope: that God would lead them to repentance, with the full knowledge of the Truth. We only have 1 enemy, and he is the only 1 who fights against us.
When conflict arises, give God permission to do whatever is necessary in their lives to break the chains that have Ensnared them. Then let go of it and let God work it out. And the peace you are seeking will be found in the release (not the retaining) of the problem. Want the conflict resolved? Give God permission to resolve it. Then let go and let God.