Many people have become anxious and bothered for different reasons. It’s becoming too common on social media to see a video of somebody having a tirade over rather insignificant issues.
There is a term that has been used to describe such people, but in order to be respectful of my wife (since it’s her name), I’m not going to use that term. I dislike it and hope the term will go away.
Everybody has had a difficult time over the past year. We’ve had some unprecedented circumstances, and if you are like me, you would like for everybody—all of us, including ourselves—to get to a point where we can experience some unity and harmony in our personal worlds.
So let’s see what the Bible has to say about such conflicting conditions. What do we need to read to help us be more like Jesus and less uptight and offended? We need some encouraging words to—as my mom used to say—“stop being ugly” to each other.
And just so I’m completely clear, I’m not offering a list of Bible verses for you to use as ammunition but rather to help refocus ourselves that what we are experiencing is temporary, and we need to make a difference toward advancing the Gospel together.
- Luke 10:38-42
Martha is a prime example for all of us. She loved Jesus and was fully dedicated to serve Him. However, looking at this passage in Luke 10, Martha was caught up in details and forgot the main reason for Christian hospitality.
“The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things’” (Luke 10:41).
My name could replace Martha’s, and I know I need to focus on the “one thing (that) is necessary” (see verse 42). I need to stop worrying and getting upset and realize that God is in control, and the most important thing I need to focus on, when experiencing frustrating situations with people, is how to share Christ with them.
- 1 Thess. 4:9-12
“About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers and sisters in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers and sisters, to do this even more, to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind you own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you so that you may behave properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.”
There’s a lot to take out of this instruction Paul gives to the Thessalonians. Live a quiet life; mind your own business; behave properly in front of unbelievers.
One commentary I read on this passage said, “You can’t be effective in sharing your faith with others if they don’t respect you.”
- Phil. 4:6-7
This is a great passage to memorize and recite to yourself when facing a tense situation. I like how it reads in the New Living Translation:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
My favorite part from this translation is how it describes God’s peace being “far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”
Consider when you face challenging situations with people as opportunities to experience this peace from God that no human being can fully comprehend.
- Prov. 15:1
“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.”
This is an easy observation and another good reminder. Many times, conflicting circumstances could be resolved just by the tone of the words you say.
- Prov. 29:22
“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered one increases rebellion.”
This is similar guidance but in the opposite of Prov. 15:1. But the focus of this verse may apply to what is happening today. So many people are angry and allowing their emotions to get themselves in more trouble than what is necessary. Maybe it’s not the issues but rather our behavior in handling the issues.
- 2 Tim. 2:23-25 and Titus 3:9-11
I recommend doing a personal study on both of these passages. Paul is instructing two young pastors, Timothy and Titus, who were trained under his leadership.
He tells them to reject foolish disputes that are unprofitable and worthless. Be gentle in giving instructions with opponents.
You know what’s fascinating? This is among the churches both Timothy and Titus were pastoring. This isn’t with the unbelieving world. However, the devil, as Paul wrote, can breed divisions in the churches. People from different backgrounds and cultures made up the church memberships. They had disagreements on topics, just like we disagree today.
The issues we are dealing with may not be the problem. Instead, perhaps it is how we are responding to the issues. Let’s consider how to promote unity, healing and reconciliation, and maybe—just maybe—the issues will work themselves out.