Day #14

Psalm 139:3-4

In an ongoing conflict with my daughter, I would get hurt feelings and imply she didn’t love me. I was so blinded by my own feelings, I didn’t see how much my implication worsened things. When I finally got my eyes off her faults long enough to see my own, I suddenly had some leverage to change things. 

So often in conflict we become consumed with the faults of the other person. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being honest when we’re mistreated, but we have to be careful with faultfinding. Each and every time we rehearse another’s faults in a conflict, we potentially reinforce our sense of self-righteousness—something quite toxic to our human nature. The more righteous we feel, the less inclined we are to identify our own contribution. As a general rule of perception, as other’s sins grow, ours shrink. 

Prayer reverses this. As I come into the presence of One I can trust, One I know loves me, and only points out my sins for my own good, I can allow Him to shine a light on my part in a conflict, even if it’s smaller or less obvious then the other person’s. The psalmist asked God to search him and to “see if there be any wicked way in me.” That “wicked way” is a mysterious Hebrew word meaning something like “way of pain and idolatry.” Out sinful conflicts with each other are essentially our idols at war. As God leads me to repentance for my idol, I find the strength and wisdom to take my idol out of the fight. And once my idol is out, the other person’s idol has nothing to fight with. 

Conflicts with others can be perplexing and difficult, robbing us of peace and joy. Imagine your current conflicts as idols at war. Now imagine God untangling your idol and placing it in front of you. What is that idol like? Very likely it is just as selfish, even if smaller than the other person’s. What forms does your selfishness take? Imagine yourself laying that idol on the altar before God, asking Him to take it away. 

Dear Searcher of hearts, thank You for helping us see our individual contribution to conflict, even though it is so very hard to see. Help us to move our focus from the sins of others to our own. Deepen our repentance. Lead us on to a better way forward, to being our best selves, and living our best life. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the only One who can make these things possible. Amen. 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:3-4

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

64 thoughts on “Day #14

  1. Cheryl

    Oh my! Did this ever resonate with me. I’ve listened three times already and read it. I need to spend more time on this area. I know I hurt others but I always think and feel like they have hurt me more.

    I rumimate on the pain others have caused me and their faults and sins. But I do the same to myself with my faults and sins. Condemnation abounds in my mind.

    I pray for the Holy Spirit to convict me to truly repent of my idols and sins. I don’t want to fault find with others or myself anymore. This definitely causes me anxiety. I know this isn’t what God wants for me. This mindset isn’t the freedom Jesus died to give me.

    Please Father God hear and answer my prayer to lay down all my burdens and idols, and way of pain. I want You to take control of my heart and mind and my thoughts. Please live in me and show me Your way. In Jesus name, Amen.

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      I’m praying that exact same prayer. Thank you for taking some of my own thoughts and putting them into the words I couldn’t form!

      Reply
      1. Cheryl

        It took me more than 2 hours to write it. Yikes! I had written so much more but deleted it. I feel like I want to purge all my stuff here but this isn’t my own personal therapy session.

        I can relate to what Jennifer said, I want to be heard more than I want to listen.

        Reply
    2. Megan

      Amen, I want to echo this prayer. I’ve been very tired lately and couldn’t find the words, but I resonate with the sentiments here. Thank you, Cheryl, and everyone who has shared in the comments.

      Reply
    3. A J

      Well written, Cheryl. Your vulnerability allows many of us to know we are not alone in our journey. And your example of going to God helps.

      I have spent an hour listening and rereading the passage. Dissecting my recent conflicts. Fighting with self. Trying to identify the faulty thinking. Trying to identify the truths. Trying to identify the idols. Trying to identify where the boundaries were broken. Searching for how to deal with the pain that it brought up. Challenging myself if I believe peace is there to be received.

      “Please Father God hear and answer my prayer to lay down all my burdens and idols, and way of pain. I want You to take control of my heart and mind and my thoughts. Please live in me and show me Your way. In Jesus name, Amen.”

      Reply
  2. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    This one really speaks to me!
    I struggle with being defensive and thinking I need to prove myself.
    But this Jesus meditation is speaking to me big time!!! The song is one of my favorite srciptures!!! I listened to it several times! Gave me goose bumps and chills! Hallelujah!!!
    Thank you!
    Peace

    Reply
    1. Cheryl

      Hi, Katrina, I too struggle with being defensive and trying to prove myself or that I’m worthy. I’m trying to generate my own righteousness…but I know that isn’t possible. I pray to be willing to be willing to be willing to let go of my will. I want to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and to accept Jesus’s righteousness. My way is exhausting!

      Reply
      1. Katrina

        Hi Cheryl
        Thank you!
        I believe that I’m a child of the King, and that I’m enough. Yet when I have a struggle with a loved one those beliefs disappear from me and those defensive words and feelings come forth, and sometimes I don’t realize it until after the fact. Lime it’s a habit. I’m praying to be more aware of my feelings in situations to respond in a more helpful way to my loved ones. God will never give up on us! He is just too faithful and kind and loving!!!
        Peace

        Reply
    2. Mel

      So true! For whatever reason I feel like I need to keep repeating my point because if they don’t agree with me they must not understand what I’m saying. Clearly I need to be the one to stop viewing my opinion as the ultimate and listen to the others perspective.

      Reply
  3. Monica

    This is so true. It’s so easy to focus on the faults of others and not face our own sins.

    Dear Jesus, help me to see others as You do and to understand more clearly how I need to change so that I can better reflect Your character. Please forgive me, lend me Your strength, lead me gently and in truth today. I Love you. Amen.

    Reply
  4. Donna

    It’s like the “blame game” … everyone else is responsible for my misery. It’s not quite that bad, but the tendency is there. As I think about Jennifer’s anxiety/depression workbook, she talks about getting to the core of our beliefs about ourselves. Mine is that I don’t matter. So I please people … I am the good girl, etc. Because of that, I let people take advantage of me. I don’t make boundaries because I don’t want anyone mad at me. So I allow people to hurt me, and then blame them for the hurt … some of it permanent. Then I want them to hurt …. to somehow pay for what they did to me.

    In my marriage, I most definitely need to look at myself and see where I’ve been wrong. I know that I’m teachable … but I’m stubborn. I don’t want to change unless my husband wants to change too. Someone has to start though…and it might as well be me.

    My idols of war? Pride. Envy. Greed. And under those idols is a woman who recognizes that she is struggling with low self-esteem … and perhaps some of those idols are fear, insecurity, doubt, confusion.

    I’m so convicted by the need of repentance, that I hope to start today. I pray for peace and understanding, instead of arguing and anger. I pray for the Holy Spirit not only to convict me of my own sin, but to help me be slow to anger, and replace that with patience, understanding, and a willingness to listen.

    Reply
    1. Jane

      Hi Donna,
      Thanks for sharing again. I resonate with so much of what you’ve been posting, that I look forward to reading what you’ve written. May God bring healing to all of our hearts – starting on the inside with our thoughts/beliefs.
      May God hold you in His loving arms,
      Jane

      Reply
      1. Donna

        Thank you for replying, Jane. Sometimes when I post I feel like such an “unbeliever”, that I have no business being here. I’m struggling … massively. Five years ago, my posts would be different. My most “recent” trauma changed me; and you are absolutely correct to say that we need healing in our hearts. I have felt betrayal, abandonment, shunning in a way that I never thought possible … and I didn’t do anything. It was my husband’s issue; and how to maintain a friendship with me was awkward if not impossible for the people I thought cared about me. Tonight I was wondering how Jesus did it. With the physical and emotional pain … and the “separation” from His Father … unfathomable.

        Reply
  5. Valerie

    For some reason this song got me in tears. It’s truly the prayer of my heart. Thankful Jesus answers this prayer faithfully 🙏🏼

    Reply
  6. Kristina

    “And once my idol is out, the other person’s idol has nothing to fight with”. What an eye opening statement. My idol is to defend my self and my reputation. If someone says something to me that is hurtful and accusatory, I don’t have to respond. By the help of the Holy Spirit I can just ignore it and die to self. So hard to do but I want to learn to do this and just not react.

    Reply
    1. Tekyia

      I struggle with this too. And I think God is trying to teach me that He is fully capable of defending me and my motives because people will believe what they want to anyway. So why lose peace and sleep over untruths? But it can be so hard especially when you want to control how others see you and these lies harm your representation. Which maybe linked to pride, perhaps?

      Reply
  7. Amy

    Been struggling with conflict lately. I want to be right and I want to be seen and heard. I think I am looking for affirmation that I am valuable in the relationship. I see now that I need to find my worth in Jesus and change my approach to conflicts. This is not going to be easy.

    Reply
  8. Jane

    My temptation is definitely to get caught up in the fault-finding — of others, myself, and my circumstances which brings me dangerously close to fault-finding with God. Oh the pride! How could I NOT be anxious and have sin in my heart when this is my focus. A question I once heard — “Will you be grumbly hateful or humbly grateful?” Lord, teach me to give thanks and be content with You being the Sovereign in my life!

    Reply
  9. Sharon

    This is the toughest one yet for me. I’m not 100% sure what my idol is or if it can be defined by a single word. I know it has something to do with my identity, my belief that having a broken will means I have no choice in anything, and my belief that if I have no choice, I have no responsibility for the consequences. Those come up whenever I have a conflict with someone. My ingrained response to this is popping up and saying, “See. They’re right. You need to repent of your existence, because you shouldn’t exist. So repent, and then all will be well because you won’t exist anymore.” I know that’s wrong, that it’s not what God is trying to get through to me. I’m just not clear on what He IS trying to say to me.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      Hummmmmm…I think devaluing ourselves can potentially be protective. You said, “I have no choice in anything, and my belief that if I have no choice, I have no responsibility for the consequences.” I would guess maybe there’s abuse in the past? If so, it helped to shame yourself because maybe the abusers backed off? But self-deprecation doesn’t work as well in the long run because it carries on the legacy of abuse. That’s a guess, anyway.

      BTW, people abuse themselves because they think they own themselves. But Jesus bought us all with the price of His life. And He asks us to respect ourselves because of the value HE has placed upon us. I believe it helps to start there.

      Reply
  10. Nowelle

    I have never thought about this so deeply before. At the root of it all, I think my opinion matters the most.
    Writing this seems so foolish now, but in the heat of the conflict, all I could think about was my own lowly opinion.
    Refine me as silver, burn out the dross and may I always remember that God knows best.

    Reply
  11. Nicky Dube

    I can say that in conflict, I am tempted to lash out when my faults are called out especially when I feel like the other person has the same fault. I am also tempted to freeze the other out to punish them for hurting me. Mt husband recently called me out on the first part I mentioned and I realized that I have had blinders on in this area. I’m sad to say that when he called me out I doubled down but I knew he was right but I refused to acknowledge it in the moment. I hope to correct this situation soon.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      This sounds familiar! Taking a time out on a conflict can help clear the head so you can approach it in a more deliberate, thoughtful way. When I work with couples I have them actually make the time-out sign and come back to the issue when they’ve cooled down.

      I’ve learned in my old age to just say I’m sorry. I think I was raised to think apologizing meant losing a fight. It has taken me a long time to change that thinking.

      Reply
  12. cree

    When finding myself in the midst of a conflict, i get passive. Depending on how much the conflict is affecting me, I could end up completely withdrawing from others into isolation and immerse myself in melancholy. If i’m not too emotionally affected by it, i immediately switch to agreeable-mode. Whatever degree the conflict may be, it seems I yearn to run away to protect myself from potential and/or further damage.

    My prayer is for the Lord to give me the courage to face conflict with my hand in His, assured by His love for me.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      I’ve had to learn what I call gracious assertiveness, where I respect myself and the other person at the same time. Which means I speak my piece in a conflict but also listen to them. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19) doesn’t mean we NEVER speak.

      Reply
  13. Den

    I found this super helpful treasure in this. Thankyou. Not only did I reflect on the ugly idols often fuelling my conflicts, but also idols that function for me as unhealthy motivations behind perfectly good things. I have chosen to let my love for God, for others and for learning and growing in the world fuel and motivate any conflict or progress today.

    Reply
  14. Karen

    Lord, Thank you for convicting me of my idols. I had no idea how many idols there were or how ingrained in my thinking they were. I need a new brain, giggle!
    This self seeking and self-promoting behavior must end.
    While in the midst of a conflict, teach me to lay down the idol, have compassion for the other person and reflect Your image not mine. Let me not seek to prove my point, let me seek to show them Christ instead. I can still speak truth but I can do it in love. Let me remember the plank in my eye as I converse with others.
    Let there be nothing between me and thee Lord.
    In Jesus name , Amen

    Reply
  15. Shirley Mann

    I’m someone who tries to avoid conflict. I like peace. When anyone complains to me about what someone else has done, I try to come up with a good reason the so-called offender has done what he/she did. And yet I have been in conflicts. I sometimes respond defensively. I’m not sure what my idol is. I have learned to be quiet more often lately. I have friends who have strong opinions that differ from mine. I don’t talk to them about what I believe about those topics. If they talk about those topics I just listen (and KNOW that they are WRONG!). But we can still be friends.
    Unfortunately, I can still remember a serious (to me at least) conflict I had over 10 years ago while I was still teaching. I need to completely forgive the other person involved in that conflict. Even now when I see her I always think badly of what she did that day. I think now that I am the one who needs forgiveness!

    Reply
  16. Sarah

    This really struck deep. But I’m thankful because I don’t want selfishness to control me. I, too, have often struggled with implying, sometimes outright saying, that the other individual(s) in a conflict didn’t care about or love me. I find this is often coupled with blame. Sometimes I list all the offenses of the others. Sometimes I list all my own offenses and why no one should love me. In the first, I’m trying to make myself feel better by putting someone else down. The other way, I put myself down while hoping that the other person will tell me good things about myself and that I’m not as bad as I make it sound. Either way, selfishness is in control. I am praying God will help me realize this when faced with conflicts so I don’t go down this road anymore, because it hurts everyone. I want them to experience His love, not my selfishness in the future!

    Reply
  17. Daniel Parsons

    What sinful reactions tempt you in a conflict? What forms does your selfishness take?

    1. Anger
    2. Denial
    3. Delusion
    4. Run Away
    5. Avoidance

    I pray every morning for God to baptize me with the Holy Spirit and that God will show me HIS plans for the time HE has given me. It takes daily effort to break my selfishness.

    Reply
  18. Simone

    I would be shown by those (mainly my husband) how wrong I was, I’d accept it , run for cover and then in few days tell him his weakest known char. trait that I live with…usually the same one I’ve noticed for 40 years.

    Reply
  19. Sabrina

    My automatic response (idol) in conflict has been, as others have mentioned here also, to want to blame others. I also have noticed that I tend to put up walls to protect myself and defend myself instead of taking time to really listen and understand the other person’s point of view. I really want to become a better empathized and listener in moments of conflict.

    Reply
  20. Ann

    I will never look at this passage the same way. I want my own way too often. Jesus please remind me of my idols and like the rest of the verse, lead me in the way everlasting. Thank you Jen for being willing and vulnerable to help other people.

    Reply
  21. Tara

    I think my idol swings from one extreme to the other. I either insist that others see things as I do or I embrace the victim mentality completely and take the blame for everything even if it has nothing to do with me. Like Jennifer, I often want to be heard more than I want to hear others. On the other hand, when I think I am listening, sometimes I hear things that they aren’t actually saying. Oh Lord, please search my heart and uproot these and any other idols there!

    Reply
  22. Sasha

    I can relate to what Cheryl, Donna and others have said. The greatest battle we will ever fight is the battle against self. My number one idol is probably desiring that the other party knows the extent of my sadness, anger or frustration over a situation. This, in turn, leads to anger, outbursts, regret and holding onto bitterness in my heart.

    Reply
  23. Vanessa

    I would be tempted to rail on the other individual about how everything s/he does is wrong, even if it’s not related to the issue at hand.

    Reply
  24. Ericka

    yeah i definitely struggle with feeling as if im truly being heard, instead of diffusing the situation with hearing someone else…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.