I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not (wink, wink), but our world is in conflict. Conflict is everywhere. It’s played out across the airwaves on TV, radio, and internet land. Adults throwing full-blown hissy fits and politics demonstrating as much decorum as a playground brawl.
So, it’s out there in the big, wide world, and we see it and can choose to participate in it or not. But what about in our own circles? Our churches, our neighborhoods, our homes? I’d like to say that we all just get along 100% of the time, but it’s not even close to being true. Personalities, opinions, and preferences affect how we handle the relationships in our lives.
What ultimately is responsible for relationships thriving or failing comes down to our choice. We are never victims of our responses because we get to choose each and every time how we respond to any given situation. People can’t make us react. They may “push our buttons,” but ultimately our reaction is our choice.
I was talking recently to one of my sons, and he said something that was a light bulb moment for me. We were talking about conflict, and he stated that so often we want to accuse others instead of advocate for them.
Stay with me here.
Revelation 12:10 states that the devil, Satan, is the accuser of the brethren. Night and day he accuses them before God.
When we hear a tone of accusation whispered in our soul, we can be assured it is the voice of the devil speaking from a heart of hate and deception.
I John 2:1 states that Jesus is our advocate with the Father.
An advocate is one who pleads the case of another. Jesus stands before the Father and pleads our case. He is in our corner — always. How awesome is that?
Luke 6:45 states that out of our mouths comes the overflow of our heart.
So what we are speaking is flowing from what is in us, right? Well, that stings a little bit, doesn’t it? I know it does for me. Sometimes I’m surprised by what comes out of my mouth.
If we are growing and desiring to be more like Jesus and have the mind of Christ, shouldn’t our thoughts and words reflect that?
I’m not saying we have to agree with everyone, and I’m certainly not saying that we are supposed to encourage bad behavior or sin in someone else’s lives. What I am saying is that if we see something in someone’s life that looks detrimental to them, are we standing in a place of accusing them and passing judgment, perhaps talking about it to everyone else but the person, or are we speaking to them (if possible), praying for them, and having the mind of Christ towards them?
We know what the world’s response looks like, and a good amount of the time it can be downright ugly. Do we look different? Are our attitudes and actions drawing others to the hope of Christ? I hope so. At times I fall short, even with those closest to me, and I don’t like it. Hopefully, though, I’m moving in the right direction and reflecting the heart of Jesus to those around me.
Lord, help me to be an advocate like you instead of echo the whispers of the accuser over others’ lives. Make me more like you, Jesus.