WRITTEN BY: Bill Crowder (For Our Daily Bread 5/27/12)
In Tennyson’s classic poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” valiant cavalry troops riding into battle are described by the imposing phrase, “Into the valley of death rode the six hundred.” Those words portray a sense of foreboding that anticipated the tragedy that lay before them.
When I was a pastor, I sometimes felt a sense of dread when heading to church meetings. Being aware of current or potential areas of conflict can easily cause serious concern. But this does not need to be the case in the church.
To a young pastor struggling with the pressures of ministry, Paul wrote, “Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2 Tim. 2:23). This applies to pastors as well as church attenders. Our personal conduct can help to reduce the amount of friction instead of elevating it through unwise actions or words. We can model for others the biblical way to avoid, manage, and even resolve conflict. Verses 24-25 encourage us to be gentle, patient, and humble in relating to others.
As James says, “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). Pursuing the goal of being a peacemaker can reduce the sense of dread that conflicts generate.
O Lord, help us to turn aside
From words that spring from selfish pride,
For You would have Your children one
In praise and love for Your dear Son. —D. De Haan
Christians at war with each other cannot be at peace with their heavenly Father.
READ: 2 Timothy 2:19-26
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.