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Finding Grace in Moments of Strife

Everyone at some point may have encountered angry or bitter disagreement in one or more of their relationships. This may be at the family level, work, school, church or any of the places that bring meaning to our lives. This is known as strife. Strife may result from pride (Prov.13:10 & 16;18), uncontrolled evil desires (James 4;1), hatred (Prov. 10;12), greed (Prov. 28;25), wrath (Prov. 15;18), and insecurity in oneself (Gen 26;16). Think of scenarios when one refuses to consider another’s viewpoint and demand only their way. Some terms that are clearly absent in the moment of strife include; reason, compromise, negotiation, and humility. Strife is indeed a threat to togetherness. However, the fruit of the Spirit helps us find/practice grace during moments of strife (Galatians 5:22).

In the Bible, we see instances when there was strife both between men and with God. Abraham and Lot separated following the strife between their herdsmen (Gen 13; 1-2), Isaac was envied by the Philistines in Gerar because of God’s blessings over his life and the wells that he had dug (Gen 26: 13-14, 20-21), Korah and some of the Israelites rebelled against Moses and Aaron’s leadership (Num.16), the Israelites contended with God under Moses’ leadership when they became thirsty at Meribah (Num.20). Moments of strife bring about a separation. This may be in the form of enmity so that people don’t see eye to eye, relocation to reduce chances of strife recurrence and in some cases death as was the case at Meribah.

God’s desire is that all men may live together in harmony. While there are chances of living in harmony following a separation such as in the case of Abraham and Lot, there is a greater blessing in working things out in the moment of strife and finding harmony while living together (Psalm 133). The analogy of brothers living together in harmony is likened to; precious oil (divine in ingredients, pleasant, sweet-smelling, expensive – Exodus 30:23-25, generously poured), the beard of Aaron (long-lasting – slow motion of oil in thick beard), upon the edges of his robes (well established – soaking effect), coming down on the hills of Zion (contagious and keeps refreshing). And above all, in such God commands his blessing!

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