One of Margo’s latest hashtags is #VeritasUnited. I got to thinking about that. This is definitely our goal and something our enemy works non-stop to prevent. He would love to destroy the best parts of Veritas — our caring, supportive community. He sneaks around in our minds, sowing seeds of division, since he knows that the greatest testimony (an undeniable testimony, in fact) for Jesus is the unity of the believers — John 17:21-23.
- Festering Resentments — Someone says something to me or does something (especially if it is to my child) and never acknowledges the hurt/wrong nor takes ownership. I choose to ignore the issue, hoping it will go away. It does not. I can’t let it go. This root of bitterness will destroy my relationship with my brother or sister. Once we let this begin, it is very hard to get this resolved: “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city.” (Prov. 18:19)
- Differences of Opinion — We have so many different opinions, convictions, preferences that it is amazing that we can come together in agreement to our Veritas Statement of Faith, Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles. However, we often forget to keep the focus on where we are like-minded and instead focus on where we disagree.
- Gossip — Either one of the above provides fuel for gossip. We begin to tell others, “You know so-and-so thinks this or that. He is “one of those.” Or we repeat the offense to someone who was not a part of the situation and is not part of the solution. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we are seeking prayer when, in effect, we are joining in the enemy’s work of sowing discord. Sometimes, we are so effective that we “poison the well;” we make it impossible for the person to whom I have gossiped to have a relationship with the person we resent.
- Pick a Gentle Manner for Your Discussion — “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Prov. 15:1
- Start with Owning Your Own Sin or Failure — We are never completely innocent in an exchange. Sometimes our sin is in how we responded, not the original incident. But we can still own that.
- Are You the Offender? Admit One’s Own Sin/Failure without any buts. When someone confronts you, don’t compound the problem by shifting the blame onto the other person to excuse your behavior.
- Agree to Disagree — Really, this is often the only way to move forward. If it is not central to salvation and eternity, let your differences go. Agree not to hold this different conviction against your brother or sister.