Tag Archives: conflict

Be Authentic and Real

Photo of Steph's hubby, Dave, one of the most courageous people she knows.

Photo of Steph’s hubby, Dave, one of the most courageous people she knows.

Be Authentic and Real, by Steph Beth Nickel

Genuine. Authentic. Real.

Do these words describe you? Do they describe me?

I admire those who are courageous enough to be real.

“I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” While people may only utter these words on TV courtroom dramas, there’s a lot to be learned from this statement.

I believe being truthful goes hand-in-hand with being authentic and real. When my three were young, I stressed the importance of telling the truth, informing them that lies were the devil’s language. I also said that deliberately leading someone to a false conclusion was the same as lying.

My Heart’s Cry

My heart’s cry is that we, as Christians, would learn to walk as we’re instructed to in Ephesians 4:11-16:

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (ESV).

As we see in this passage, “speaking the truth in love” is one of the evidences of spiritual maturity.

Asking for Help

Too often, for whatever reason, we are not open and honest with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t want to burden them with our problems. We don’t want to admit we’re struggling in a certain area. We figure we should be able to work it out—just between God and us. We assume the other person doesn’t really want to know what’s on our heart and mind. We don’t want them to think less of us.

I have found if we’re open and honest, others will feel more at ease opening up to us as well. I believe this goes a long way to bringing us to the unity in the faith the Bible refers to in this and other passages.

Offering a Listening Ear

And what if we must approach someone who is in the wrong—or someone we think may be in the wrong?

Most of us want to do all we can to avoid conflict and may be tempted to put off addressing issues that really shouldn’t be ignored. It’s one thing to speak the truth in love when we’re the ones dealing with issues, but what about when it’s the other person who is struggling. Are we willing to reach out to them, come alongside them, invest the time to see things from their perspective, and then, if appropriate, help them get back on the right track?

When we pray for the wisdom God promises to give if we’ll just ask, we can be genuine, authentic, real, and truthful without unduly burdening others, breaking confidences, or gossiping.

How are you seeking to mature in Christ this day? How are you seeking to be authentic, to be real?

[Leave your thoughts below!]

Photo of Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel
(Picture by Sarah Grace Photography)

Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor. She writes under the pen name Steph Beth Nickel. She co-authored Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other places, it is available from Castle Quay Books and Amazon. Steph has been blogging since 2010 and is a regular guest on Kimberley Payne’s site (fitness tips) and Christian Editing Services (writing tips). She will also be writing and recording regularly for the newly-formed Hope Stream Radio. Stephanie is an active member of The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.


Steph invites you to pop by for a visit on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephbethnickel or https://www.facebook.com/stephbnickel?ref=hl

You can also look her up on Twitter @StephBethNickel; her blog: http://stephseclecticinterests.wordpress.com; or her website (still a work in progress): http://stephbethnickel.com

Because You Belong to the Lord

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.
Philippians 4:2, NLT*

Because you belong to the Lord.

We forget this perspective, forget that belonging to the Lord is supposed to make a difference in our behaviours and our motivations. Not so we can earn more love (or more salvation) – we can’t —  but because we love this God who loved us first.

We want to please Him. And we want the people around us to see the difference He makes in our lives. In cases like this, to see that we value loving Him more than we cherish our very real hurts and disagreements.

Euodia and Syntyche have had a serious falling out. They’ve worked as a team before, likely been close, so this is more painful than if they’d never been friends. Or perhaps they never really got along but were able to overcome it until now.

The friction is hurting the local body of believers. It’s also giving ammunition to the scoffers who think all this love-and-unity stuff is too good to be true.

And it does the same today. In every group of believers, there will be differences of opinion. Even conflicts. And our enemy loves to get us focused on anything that can divide us. The good news is, God wants to use these opportunities as ways to demonstrate His kingdom living. If we’ll rely on Him.

Because you belong to the Lord.

It’s not about us. It’s about God – the news of what He’s done for us and His power to save us from ourselves. We don’t have the luxury of indulging in hurt feelings and splits. Even if Euodia and Syntyche can’t work together anymore, like Paul and Barnabas, they need to reconcile in the common ground of Christ.

If we can make reconciliation more important than restitution or revenge, the world will recognize something – Someone – holy at work.

Our God, You ask us to do what’s impossible, but all things are possible with You if we’ll choose to believe. Conflict is part of living. Please help us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Give us willingness and power to forgive, and remind us that forgiving doesn’t mean the “other side” is right. Help us to love those who have hurt us, and to pray for their good. Intervene in disputes among Your children. Help each to understand the other, and to see where confession, change and courage are needed. We ask this for the sake of Your Kingdom and Your reputation in this world.

Let Steven Curtis Chapman‘s “For the Sake of the Call” remind us of our greater purpose.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.