Generosity in Conflict
By Mike Stickler
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Have you ever dealt with someone who lies about something in order to position themselves to a better appearance? Or who’ve practiced emotional ‘sleight of hand’ to get you to focus on some grandiose feeling, while they just use it to cover their true intentions? Have you done these things yourself?
I don’t know about you, but, I find dealing with emotionally dishonest people one of the hardest areas in which to be generous. Part of me just wants them to come clean so that we might start renewing or rebuilding our relationship on an honest basis.
It’s really not about one-upmanship or being ‘the winner.’ It’s really about the common ground, or starting point, or foundation upon which to build a relationship.
What I’ve learned over time is that people sometimes just can’t get to ‘honesty.’ They rely so deeply on warping the interpretation or the story-version they’ve created in their head that they can’t admit to the reality of any event or transaction.
I believe the Apostle Paul is talking directly to me in these three little verses. To you, too?
In these situations, I have to be intentional about having a heart of compassion, kindness, and, as the events transpire, reminding myself to “go low” (humility and gentleness) and to be patient in working of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I need to remind myself what my goal is; but, more often, of what God’s goal (and my part in His goal) is. That goal is one of love for one another and unity with one another. That unresolved issues would be resolved between parties and reconciliation made. God has shown me that this can be the greatest act of generosity.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Sometimes the deeper-cutting devotionals are specifically timed by the Holy Spirit to highlight that we often have just experienced a situation as described above, or are about to!
Tell us about your situation and – specifically – how you remained generous in it. Write about what you learned here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.