A poem from my childhood came into my mind. I looked it up. It was written by Rudyard Kipling. The first part goes like this: “If you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”
What does the Bible say? Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 25:15 Amplified says, “By long forbearance and calmness of spirit a judge or ruler is persuaded, and soft speech breaks down the more bonelike resistance.”
The above two verses are heart armor for interpersonal relationships. My dad used to say, “Convince a woman against her will, and she will be of the same opinion still.” Bonelike resistance are two words condensed into one ~ stubbornness.
1 Samuel 15:23 says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord…” Hosea 10:13 says, “You have plowed wickedness; you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way…”
Let’s unpack this. Witchcraft is seeking to control another with a spirit that is not the Holy Spirit. Our personal agenda, and our fleshly tenacity to hold onto our opinion can be idolatry.
Ezekiel 14:4 says, “…Everyone…who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity…I the Lord will answer him…according to the multitude of his idols.” This verse was written to the house of Israel but we can make personal applications.
There is a vast difference between righteous conviction and fleshly driven opinions. An opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
Romans 14:4 gave the parameters of a righteous conviction. It says, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”
The book of the Acts has many narratives of folks standing in righteous conviction. Peter and John were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:19-20 says, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
There was quick and severe action against Ananias and Sapphira. Their heart idol cost them their lives. Acts 5:3 says, “…why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…?”
Here is a discerning question to ask yourself. What opinion fills my heart that creates interpersonal conflicts? Colossians 3:13 says, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
We cannot effectively convince a person against their opinion. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. We usurp His role when we try. In order to walk in unity, we need to put Ephesians 4:2 into practice. It says, “With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.”
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Here is a verse I have taped to my kitchen cabinet door. Titus 3:2 says, “To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” Great verse and one that we need to live by in order to exemplify the Lord in all aspects of our lives.