|Don’t let your lips or typing fingertips be the first thing
that walks into a conflict.
Pray that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:19)
The e-mail I received said this in the subject line: “Shame on you.”
I don’t have to tell you the tone of the rest of that e-mail. Let’s just say, it didn’t make me smile. This woman misunderstood something I’d done and she wanted to make sure I felt the depth of her anger. I did. It hurt. And I wanted to go on the attack against this woman attacking me.
But the secret to healthy conflict resolution isn’t taking a you-against-me stance. The secret is realizing it’s all of us against Satan—he’s the real enemy.
This is hard to do when all we see is that flesh-and-blood person standing there who, quite honestly, is planted squarely on the last good nerve we have left.
This moment may seem like the perfect time to set our Christianity on the shelf. In actuality though, a moment of conflict handled the right way is hands-down one of the grandest opportunities we have to shame Satan back to hell. A Jesus girl who rises up and unexpectedly gives grace when she surely could have done otherwise, reveals the power and the mystery of Christ at work—in her life and in the world.
That’s why the apostle Paul ends Ephesians 6 by making a specific statement about words—how he wants to use them and the impact he wants them to have. After explaining that Satan is our real enemy, reminding us to put on our spiritual armor each day, and reiterating the absolute necessity of prayer, Paul says one more thing: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
The placement of this verse is crucial and intentional.
After we remember who the real enemy is—and that the person who hurt us is not our enemy—we must carefully consider the words we speak in response. After all, it’s one thing to make the mental shift that the person isn’t my enemy but quite another to speak words that make known the mystery of the gospel.
What a choice!
Sometimes when I’m hurt, I want the verse to say, “Most of the time when you open your mouth, make known the gospel. But when someone really hurts your feelings, that day is the exception. Feel free to explode all over her.”
Or, “Most of the time when you open your mouth, make known the gospel. But when someone else has obvious issues, you should make her aware of those issues and heap back on her what she’s heaped on you.”
Or, “Most of the time when you open your mouth, make known the gospel. But if you’re feeling unfairly judged, rally other people around your cause and make this other person look as bad as you can.”
But that’s not what Ephesians 6:19 says. It says I must make the gospel known whenever I open my mouth.
Is this easy? Of course not! To have any chance at all, I have to develop a strategy in advance for how I will react in situations like these. In advance means I don’t wait until I’m knee deep in hurt.
In a non-emotional, clear-headed moment, I crafted a response template. (In tomorrow’s devotional, you’ll see my example of this. Feel free to copy it or craft your own.)
Then, on that day when another person decides to get all up in your Kool-Aid with their own raw emotions, you can hold onto your soul integrity.
Dear Lord, please help me be a Jesus girl who rises up and gives grace when I am tempted to do otherwise. I want to reveal Your power at work in my responses. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This devotion was taken from Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Unglued – Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions. If you want to be equipped with more strategies for resolving conflict in your relationships, get the book, Unglued, today. Click here to purchase.