Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The stuff of life

As I go through my classes here at this institute for higher learning, occasionally things strike me as profound. (Gosh, that means I must pay attention in class or something) For example, I learned today the vast importance of considering other people and respecting their opinion during conflict. You're probably thinking, "Duh, of course it's important to be considerate." But not everyone is Christian. And some people like to argue just for the sake of having some kind of a disagreement. Then there's the people who take every little comment out of context and become offended by them. In the corporate world, conflicts arise and each person experiencing the conflict automatically asks the question, "How will this affect me and my success?" How does God see conflict? Whether or not the conflict is good or bad in our own selfish eyes, God approaches it with OUR interest in mind. Christ had a conflict of sorts with the rich young ruler. The young man came to Him and asked how to gain eternal life. Instead of only telling the ruler that one thing is needed, or that it was too late for him, Christ looked into the man's heart and got right to the point. He pointed out that which was closest to the young man and made him see that his worldly wealth was distracting him from the ways of God. No doubt Jesus' words continued to cause a war in the young man's mind long after. We talked about this in class joke!

Would Jesus have confronted the rich man's heart if He were only looking for personal gain? I think not. Selfish people claim to look to the interests of others, but (sometimes unknowingly) truly desire only their own gain. The "ladder of success" needs to be climbed by someone, right? Who better to climb it than me? I've never seen an episode of "The Apprentice", but from reading the reviews for the show and talking to those who have seen it, I have come to the conclusion--and I realize that it's not a completely educated conclusion having not watched it myself--that the contestants on the show were perfect examples of what I'm talking about. Those people were willing to do anything and everything to get ahead of the others. Now I know it was a competition, but what I'm trying to illustrate is the difference between a Christ like attitude and the attitudes we'll all come into contact with in the future. I can't bluntly tell a non-believer that he's wrong without alienating him, but I can set a good example. In the same way, I cannot MAKE someone believe that Jesus loves them, I have to SHOW them. Among friends that show often includes a conflict. I've often heard the term "call to account." I've even tried it a few times. It's not a pleasant thing to have to do, but we are called to be Christ like and Christ did tell people when they do something that's wrong.

But we also have to be willing to have others tell us that we're wrong too. Last I checked, there has only ever been one perfect person, and I'm not him......neither are you. This week I had to tell more than one friend that some of their actions were wrong. They didn't like hearing it and I didn't like telling it. Sometimes we have to do those things we really don't want to do. I'm sure Christ didn't WANT to suffer the atrocities that He did, but I'm glad He did. That's kinda morbid, isn't it? I'm GLAD Christ went through horrible nightmarish physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual pain. But at the same time, I know that He conquered death. And because He conquered death, I can live with Him forever in heaven. (I'll have to write more about heaven later.)

So, yeah.....conflict is astounding. Friends who come through conflict and grow closer because of or in spite of conflict are even more astounding to me than the power of the deeper emotions...I should stop there.

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