How many of you have grown tired if not completely exhausted from all the social media warfare? The political warfare? The battles over mask mandates and vaccines?
The collateral damage of these wars makes my heart hurt and my stomach turn. Friends and families torn apart or at minimum, passively choosing opposing sides? But for what? So that we can be 'right'? Or hold on to our rights? As I recall, Jesus laid His rights down, but that is a conversation for later. The social media wars alone fuel enough friendly fire to kill us ALL off.
But I am digressing. I want to get more personal with you.
I have a dear friend, who...has not always been my friend. Some might say, a 'frenemy'.
We became acquaintances at a bible study. She had previously been leading it with a group of women, and had decided to hand over the leadership of it and step away. The group wasn't exactly sure where to meet, so I volunteered my place. She - after a brief departure, decided to come back to the study, now taking place at my house - and assume her prior position.
There was an awkwardness that I began to sense over time with her as the weeks would pass at bible study. Something that just seemed off, but I could not place my finger on it. I talked with my husband about it, but just determined to commit it to prayer, and not take a position on it. To simply, let it be.
Now that was not always me. The old me, would just cut people off. Cuz that's the way I rolled. But since attending an event called Lavish that was put on by Her Voice, the Father has begun a work in my heart and given me a new way to handle conflict.
Recently, we had an opportunity to visit more about this season, and she was so kind to open up to me about it and express what had been going on. There was a jealousy of sorts that had been building over time. She has since given it to the Father, and He has been faithful to remove that from her. It has taken some time, but today, she and I are genuine friends, and have a warmth and love between us that I would never have anticipated.
(SHE has given me permission to share our story btw. We plan on doing a facebook LIVE and will be sure to alert you when we do.)
And just so you know, I share none of this to lift myself up. I have mishandled hurt and friendships myself. I have been jealous. Catty. Ungodly. I simply want to share with you from personal experience, that it is possible to win these battles with prayer. Prayer changed me. It changed her. It is, to borrow from the song, how we REALLY fight our battles.
The scriptures have some things to say about winning these types of cold wars - and I want to share a few with you.
He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, But he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends. - Proverbs 17:9
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. - Mark 11:25
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave I to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:18-21
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well, and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. - Matthew 5:39-41
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. - 1 Corinthians 1:10
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. - 2 Corinthians 13:11
Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults. - Proverbs 10:12
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. - Colossians 3:13
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:31-32
These don't even begin to touch all the ways in which scriptures instruct us to end war between us and strive for peace.
Jesus prayed that we would be one, even as He and the Father are one. He, who had all rights to everything in heaven and earth, thought it NOTHING to be equal with God.
So why is it that we can't seem to stop the interpersonal wars...and lay down our rights? Our felt need to BE right? In order to be one?
I think it goes beyond setting your mind to forgive - because those decisions can easily be swayed with the next offense. I believe it is because we don't fight these wars with prayer. Prayer changes events, circumstances, weather, people - it changes hearts.
Prayer is the way to fight these battles - to tear down strongholds - to defeat evil - and to win over the offended. You simply cannot defeat war through your efforts alone. It will require a humble posture before the Father.
We are His ambassadors of peace in this world. When you pair prayer, with declarations of peace and gestures of gentleness - you will see walls come down. Guards dropped. Offenses forgiven.
People will say to fight fire with fire - but Jesus shows us another way. When He was facing death, He chose not to fight back, but to pray. He declared war against His enemy with prayer. And the Father heard Him. And peace was won, for us all.
In the same way, SHE will declare war...with peace. In Jesus' name. Because SHE is YOU.
PS - Feel free to leave a comment in our comment section. I look forward to connecting with you!