During my quiet time last week in the Bible, one of my reading take aways was from Hebrews 10:24-25.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Now I have no problem understanding what it means to “stir up” trouble, but “stir up” to love and good works? As I spent time reflecting on the verses and their implications for my own life, I also thought about them in the context of relational conflict (which is our topic this month). If there is relational (friends, family, church, school, etc.) conflict going on in your life, here is what it might look like compared to these verses.
First, since I have been wounded by your words or actions, I might no longer desire to stir up love in your life but trouble. Life is all about relationships. I might stir the pot by talking about the person who has hurt me.
Second, now that I am hurt (real or perceived), I might stop coming around as much. I will avoid the person. We see that these verses encourage followers of Jesus not to neglect meeting together.
Third, instead of encouraging one another as we see the Day drawing near (wide-angle lens), we have our narrow-angle lens on, which only sees as far as the current reason I’m mad at you. We lose sight of the gospel and focus on me.
Well, what should we do? The pain of being hurt, either by words or actions, is real. No one is trying to dismiss real conflict. No one is encouraging someone to just have thicker skin. Last Sunday night we looked at Matthew 5:23-26 to answer the question, “My friend and I aren’t getting along; what do I do?”
We learned that Jesus wants us to Take The First Step (v.24). We summarized this idea by stating that Jesus is more concerned about us being reconciled with other people than being right. It might mean taking the humble first step. We said Jesus is more concerned about relationships than with religion. We see the person in the text going to offer a gift at the altar (worship), but Jesus says drop it and go fix the relational conflict. The person was about to offer empty worship. A worship that looks good but cares more about what people think of me than about people.
So, we learned according to the Bible, Jesus wants us to take the first step. We also took away from the text that Jesus wants us to Deal With it Immediately (v. 24). Conflict can grow so quick and be so disastrous. In the context of these verses, the one taking the first step and dealing with the situation immediately, is the person who has committed the offense. However, we also learn from Jesus in Matthew 18 that a similar course of action should be followed if I am the one hurt.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone ~ Matthew 18:15”
So we applied Sunday nights lesson to all who could be involved in conflict with someone else. We asked the question, “What relationship conflict in your life needs immediate attention?”
I believe one of the practical ways of stirring up one another to love and good works, is by taking responsibility for conflict I have caused or fueled and biblically handling the situation how Jesus tells us we should. What are you and I stirring up?