Dear friends, don’t be surprised about the fiery trials that have come among you to test you. These are not strange happenings. Instead, rejoice as you share Christ’s suffering. You share his suffering now so that you may also have overwhelming joy when his glory is revealed. If you are mocked because of Christ’s name, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory—indeed, the Spirit of God—rests on you.
Now none of you should suffer as a murderer or thief or evildoer or rebel. But don’t be ashamed if you suffer as one who belongs to Christ. Rather, honor God as you bear Christ’s name. Give honor to God, because it’s time for judgment to begin with God’s own household. But if judgment starts with us, what will happen to those who refuse to believe God’s good newsIf the righteous are barely rescued, what will happen to the godless and sinful? So then, those who suffer because they follow God’s will should commit their lives to a trustworthy creator by doing what is right. ~1 Peter 4:12-19 (CEB)
“The more I see of conflict in the church, the more I am moved by persons who allow conflict to become the occasion of their growth. And wherever several persons allow personal growth to happen, their collective growth may begin to reshape the community of which they are a part. To say this is in no way to make light of the number of church and denominational conflicts that swirl about us. It is to say, though, that Jesus seeks to form us even in the places of greatest friction. In the midst of division and hurt, he can draw us toward maturity in fresh and formative ways. This formation can take place whether we happen to be the focal point of a conflict; its anguished observer; or in some formally defined role, are present to the situation as ‘conflict manager.’
In matters of conflict, Jesus shapes his community fundamentally by point it toward a healing intent. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus deny conflict. At no time, in his own actions or in his counsel to others, does he ignore its presence or imply that conflict itself is evil. However, Jesus unceasingly encourages his followers to reach after wholeness.” ~From Discovering Community by Stephen V. Doughty
Heavenly Father, may I be an instrument of peace for You this day. Where there is strife help me to sow comfort; where there is hurt let me sow understanding; where there is hate, help me to sow love. Help me this day to restore wholeness, in Jesus name I ask this. Amen.