Summary: Pastor Richard uses the Apostle James’ description of godly wisdom as a foundation for ways to resolve relational issues. As a professional mediator, Dr. Tow shares insights gained by conducting hundreds of mediations in families, churches and businesses
Seven Keys to Resolving Your Conflict
As a church, we have committed ourselves to Ten Days of Consecration to the Lord. Those ten days end this Wednesday at sunset. I have found it to be a good time to draw near to the Lord. We have given ourselves to prayer and fasting and extra time in the Word. Since The Day of Atonement or in the Hebrew, Yom (Day) Kippur (Atonement), is Wednesday, I was going to teach on that. It is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. It was the only day that the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place to make atonement for sin. Like the other Old Testament sacrifices, it was a shadow of the one final sacrifice Jesus would make on the cross. In the Old Testament the Jews celebrated Yom Kippur in anticipation of Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. They did not have a full revelation of how that all connected; but they acted in obedience to God’s instruction to them in Leviticus 16, Leviticus 23, and other passages. Today we celebrate the day much like Good Friday on the Christian calendar. It is a time to look back in gratitude for Calvary.
Turn to Hebrews 10 and we will read a few verses from the New Testament that helps us keep these feasts in perspective. Verses 1-4:
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” This is a general statement about the Mosaic Law—the Law was a preparation and a shadow of the reality that would come through Christ. Hebrews 10:3 is a specific reference to Yom Kippur. The perpetual fulfillment of The Day of Atonement happened when Jesus laid down His life on the cross and established the Everlasting Covenant of Grace promised in the Old Testament.
Romans 14:6 says “He who observes a day, observes it to the Lord….” That’s what we’re doing this week. Not out of legal obligation, but we have chosen to set aside these days to seek the Lord and consecrate ourselves to Him. The timing of these feasts is significant because they were appointed by God. They were not just dates that Israel picked to celebrate. They were part of God’s covenant with Israel; and God Himself specified when they would be. And God honors the dates He chose. Jesus’ death on the cross coincided with the Feast of Passover. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit did not occur, according to Acts 2:1, until the Feast of Pentecost had fully come. The feast dates continue to have significance in God’s program.
So here we are today consecrating ourselves to the Lord with prayer and fasting. But our consecration is not limited to prayer and fasting. We are confessing our sins; we are turning from iniquity in every way we know how, and we are getting everything as right as we possibly can. A major factor in all that is making sure our relationships with one another are right. That’s what God has led me to address this morning.
Turn with me to James 3:13-18 and I’ll explain further.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
I have a few relationships that are not everything they ought to be. I have made effort to improve these relationships. They are not open conflict; but still I feel a concern about where they are. So during this Ten Days of Consecration I have asked the Lord to show me what else I might do. In answer to prayer the Lord took me specifically to James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” In that description of godly wisdom, I find Seven Keys for Resolving Conflict; I want to share those with you.