When conflict needs to happen…

    Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
        and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
    For the LORD is a God of justice;
        blessed are all those who wait for him.
    For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
(Isaiah 30:18-21 ESV)

There is a certain conflict that needs to happen with some friends of mine.  It’s not a “bad” conflict per se, but just something that needs to be worked out soon for the better sake of the community involved. I was praying over these women the other morning, and our Lord Jesus gave me the sweetest reminder through words in Isaiah.

All of the women involved are believers, and therefore are God’s children.  He cannot be any happier with them than he is right now, in spite of some sinful attitudes.  Why?  Because they have been given the righteousness of Jesus Christ when they were adopted into God’s family. Because Jesus was perfectly holy, we are able to stand before God the Father as perfectly holy, not by anything we have done, but only by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Anyway, my inclination is to try to get myself, and others, to “clean up” before coming to the Lord, in order to make Him happy with me.  And this was just such a great reminder that He is already perfectly happy with us, and loves me and these women with such perfect-ness (yeah, I made that word up) that I can love these women and pray they see that before any conflict comes to the light.  Bringing sin into the light doesn’t happen so that God will love us–it needs to happen because God loves us.

The words from Isaiah are spoken to God’s chosen people–the Jews–but praise the Lord because of Jesus Christ, I am counted as one of God’s children in spite of my lack of Jewishness.
  
    And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
        and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
    My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
        in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
(Isaiah 32:17-18 ESV)

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