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, | 26 Jul 2021 | by GEM

Battle or Bless

by Fred Swartz

Key Verse: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” 

– Matthew 5:9, ESV 

I have recently been quite frustrated with some decisions made that impact ministry for me.  My perception of those decisions, one in particular, is that they hinder mission and growth of the Kingdom.  Assuming for the moment that I might even be correct about that (a tenuous proposition), what are my options?

The fleshy side of me wants to turn the whole thing into a battle.  I’m obviously right, they’re obviously wrong, etc.  Never mind that I’m still relatively new to this full-time ministry thing.  Never mind that the accusation of myopia I harbor towards them, if it’s even true, swings back around to me as well.  I only see the picture from my perspective, not their possible broader view.

Those who made the decision may well be mistaken on the issues in question, but how much does that matter?  Scripture says the gospel, not wise missional decisions, is the power of God unto salvation, so even if they have missed the mark, God’s grace is quite sufficient to continue the advance of His kingdom.  If I am mistaken about the issues in question (a possibility I must remember), God is perfectly capable of moving despite my foolishness.

I’m left with a choice between blessing and battling.  I can bless even while disagreeing (even passionately at times) with people, and I am blessed when I do that.  Equally, if I choose to battle, that goes both ways as well.  If I battle with those I disagree with, I reap what I sow.  Prayer is the only answer, both for my heart and for what I perceive as the issue.  I pray for my own attitude about the disagreement.  I pray for blessing to flow to those I disagree with, and I look for ways to bless them.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal and empower His will to everyone involved, including me.

God’s been faithful.  As I’ve worked through all this, he’s shown me better ways to do things than I would have seen if I had dug my heels in and battled for what I thought at first was the way to go.  Letting go of how I think things ought to be has opened my eyes to previously unseen wisdom in the other party’s perspective.  Choosing to bless instead of battle has, not surprisingly, produced blessing in return.

Reflection Verse

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.  Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” 

– 1Peter 5:5, ESV

Reflection Questions

  • How has submitting to what seemed unreasonable to you blessed you?

  • When is it hardest for you to relinquish battling in exchange for peacemaking?