As Paul says, it is difficult to battle evil alone (Rom. 12:15-16). This is why it is important to develop relationships with people who will encourage you and give you biblically sound advice. These friends should also be willing to correct and admonish you when they see that you are in the wrong (Prov. 27:5-6).
Godly advisors are especially helpful when you are involved in a difficult conflict and are not seeing the results you desire. If a lack of noticeable progress causes you to doubt the biblical principles you are following, you may be tempted to abandon God’s ways and to resort to the world’s tactics. One of the best ways to avoid straying from the Lord is to surround yourself with wise and spiritually mature people who will encourage you to stay on a biblical course, even when the going is tough.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 250
Food for Thought
Some time ago, I was miserably slogging my way through a painful conflict. I knew all of the biblical peacemaking principles by heart–but here I was having to live them out after having been terribly hurt by someone. During that time, I wanted to surround myself with “yes men” who would pat me on the shoulder, tell me how “wrong” and “mean” the other person was, and basically just feed my idols, unbelief, and selfishness.
Thank God that instead, he sent me godly and wise advisors who loved me enough to tell me the truth:
“Tara, you are focusing on yourself, your circumstance and the other person. Of course you will only despair! Look to the Cross! Remember Christ! Fix your eyes on eternity!”
“Dear one, we are praying against anything or anyone that would enable you to get out of this situation.” (I wanted to run far, far away–both figuratively and literally!) “Instead, we are praying for the grace for you to persevere in love. How can we help?”
“It’s OK that you don’t have any faith right now, Tara. Take comfort in the Lord and his Body. I’ll believe for you. Trust in him. Let me serve you. Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.”
Even though my heart cried out, “No!”, I knew they were right. I am so grateful for these godly advisors.
So the next time you are facing a conflict or broken relationship, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I surrounding myself with people who only tell me what I want to hear? Or do I have true friends, wise and godly advisors, who love me enough to tell me the truth?
- Are my “friends” just placating my complaining and whining? Or are they leading me in repentance, confession, and faith?
- What kind of advisor am I? Do I bring others the hope of the gospel and the practical help of biblical peacemaking?
— Tara Barthel (Billings, MT) is a former attorney and director at Peacemaker Ministries, and the author of our new Women’s Study. She currently serves her family as a homemaker while regularly speaking at women’s events and blogging on God’s considerable grace
Wow, how many times do you find yourself in this place, someone has hurt you, and you run to the nearest friend to agree with your emotions, to defend your honor against the other ‘bad’ party?
I know I’ve done it, plenty. But where should we go, dear one?