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Summary: Resolving conflict, not knowing who to believe, living knowing people are bitter toward you – these are all a normal part of the Christian life; it isn't all pretty.

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Facing the Realities of Conflict and Getting Along

(Proverbs 18:17-19)

1. 2 Jews, 2 Catholics, and 2 Baptists were stranded on an island.

2. Sometimes people ask, "Why can't we all get along?" The answer is simple: it is not natural for people to get along with everyone. We are all kings and queens with our domains, and when someone encroaches on them, we bulk.

3. How much wiser it is to assume, accept, and work with the realities of conflict. Idealism is great for an ideal world, but God's wisdom is meant for the real world.

Main Idea: Resolving conflict, not knowing who to believe, living knowing people are bitter toward you – these are all a normal part of the Christian life; it isn't all pretty.

I. Be Alert to Your Own GULLIBILITY (17)

A. Pride makes us think we are discerning

B. Sometimes the conclusion seems obvious – but is completely wrong

1. Operating from the realm of partial truth is dangerous

2. Not knowing that we have only partial truth is even more dangerous

3. My experiences counseling (oeike

Illustration: Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh were released by Joshua to go to their new home on the East side of the Jordan River. They promptly built an altar East of the Jordan (Josh. 22:10-12) in seeming defiance of God's Law, which allowed only one official altar, the one associated with the Tabernacle.

And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. And the people of Israel heard it said, "Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel." And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

• Phineas and leaders investigated first, fortunately!

C. A good policy: inquire of all parties first!

D. [Application] Who among us is not guilty of this? We may fault our children or spouse before investigating the situation. We may accuse a co-worker and be proven wrong. Sometimes it takes too much time to investigate, to inquire.

II. Issues May Be So Impossible to Resolve That You Must Resort to CASTING LOTS (18)

A. Not the best way to make a decision

1. Abraham and his nephew Lot were in a position where they could have cast lots – Abraham let him make the choice instead …

2. In most instances, godly people made decisions based upon God's Word, godly wisdom, or sometimes God's leading

B. Lots Can Be Useful

• if both choices are within God's revealed will,

• a choice has to be made, and

• the choices are evenly matched (Acts 1:23), Joseph and Mathias

Acts 1:21-26

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection." And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.


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