12th Sunday after Pentecost | Read Deuteronomy 5: 1-5, 20
The goal is NOT to train you or help you discover Biblical methods or tips on how to win every argument or defeat every opponent with the wrath of God…. On the contrary, the prayer is that the Holy Spirit gives you the words and the spirit to help us acknowledge once again the most important of the commandments which are “to love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31-310) acknowledging also that your first and most constant neighbor are your actual parents, siblings, spouse, extended family, and even your in-laws.
You could always ghost (What is to Ghost someone) the people that live near you, but can you really ghost your family? You can try, but eventually family is family, and you will have to deal with the whole thing at once, so is better to deal with the “Not-so-good” of the past, to be able to have a better future.
Now, I get it. There are times that you truly need to walk away from family, especially when you are in a situation of abuse, negligence, or exploitation, but this lesson series isn’t about that. This lesson series is about learning to work out our difference before you need to walk away before the abuse, negligence, or exploitation.
You should not be afraid of conflict (Conflict for the right reasons.) You should not live in fear of conflict… After all, we live in a fallen world and conflict is everywhere. You truly cannot hide your head on the sand. We gotta trust the love your family has for you, love big enough to set boundaries of mutual benefit and respect. If your family truly loves you they will not be afraid of fighting with you, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, they will not be afraid of faith FOR YOU! Find (1 John 4:20) and you will find these words “those who say, “God I love YOU…” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
So, the question is… Are you willing and able to improve, or are you a person that is set on your ways? – Think about it because God calls us to learn to “Fight Well.” So that you can offer your point of view, but also offer grace, practice forbearance, and also learn and decide how and where you are gonna stand your ground (in God’s love) when fighting with family.
You are not a better Christian by avoiding conflict and you are definitely not a better Christian by choosing to always being a martyr. REMEMBER… REMEMBER… that the apostle Paul teaches us on Philippians 1:21 that “For us, as Disciples to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Today we explored the introduction, and the actual 9th commandment, given to Moses by God in Mount Sanai, which are words given to us, not to our ancestors, says verse (3). For those bible geeks, the same commandment is also found in Exodus 20:16.
The command against false testimony is seen as the nemesis of the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”. This moral directive (Commandment 9th) comes from the awareness that since we believe in God, we represent God and our offenses against the truth in the eyes of the public and family are a direct offense against God.
Now, know this… There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things God detests: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who sows disharmony in a family. – that’s a paraphrase from Proverbs 6.
So, I am asking you to consider the 9th commandment because the chances are that you are either going through or coming out of a conflict with a family member. While conflict is never exciting, it can be a great opportunity for everyone involved (especially you) to grow in their understanding of grace and truth.
Friend, above all, today I want you to consider that as you go through this conflict or come out of this conflict with your family member that you become familiar with the Commandment number 9th that you gain the awareness and the desire to win the argument by beating or killing the identity of that family member.
That by the Grace of God you aim to know and understand, even appreciate the argument of that family member. That you choose to speak, for or against the argument that family member is doing, rather than attacking the character or integrity of that family member.
Let me tell you a bit more… the challenge is that this commandment (the 9th) is typical, the one remembered as “Don’t tell a lie.” But it actually means more than that. The context is legal, as in “Don’t give some sort of false testimony about another person in the presence of others thus changing the perception of that person in the public eye.” Again, the essence of the 9th commandment is that we don’t give OUR “perception” of reality about another person in the presence of others, which changes the perception of that person in the eyes of others.”
As Presbyterians, to understand this commandment we pay attention to The Heidelberg Catechism that teaches us that this commandment… FREE digital copy of the Heidelberg Catechism
So… let me bring it all together.
When you find yourself in conflict, one of the main principles that should guide your thinking is this…
Have I truly considered/understood/listen to the other person’s position? Or am I just seeking to be right? Whether you are having difficulties in your immediate family or with distant friends on social media, this question should always be at the forefront of our minds.
Do I want to be right, or get it right?
Do I want to be right, or do what is right?
Do I want to be right, or say what is helpful.
That is the point behind the ninth commandment. See, God gave the Ten Commandments to us to guide our good-living relationships with one another. The commandments are not arbitrary rules of a dictator.
People of God… when fighting with family, fight well… don’t aim to win the argument, aim to know and understand the argument of the other person. Choose to speak, for or against the argument rather than attacking the character of the person of your family that you are fighting with.
Today, I want you to consider that you don’t need to call names or denigrate the family members that you are fighting with. Seek for a win-win situation and know that forgiveness is the ultimate tool to win all.
To God be the glory, amen.