Recently I was plummeted (knocked off my feet) and sent into a state of shock by an email I received.  It was full of unforgiveness, offense, and hatred.  It was dishonoring and the tirade was obviously coming from a very wounded heart that had totally misunderstood a discussion I’d had with a mutual family member.  As always, when conflict like this arises, I always go back and review the communication.  Then the difficult part comes when my flesh kicks in and I want to cut this person’s head off.  I have often said that I plead with God for 5 minutes in the flesh and I would only need to use 3 of the 5!  In three minutes I can be totally successful at giving this person a literal piece of my mind!  Remember that our soul (our flesh) is composed of our mind, our intellect and our emotions.  When we step into the soulish area we REACT!  We turn away from our spirits – that part of us that connects with the Holy Spirit and we fly into a retaliation and defensive mode. It is like throwing gasoline on a fire!  You all know what I’m talking about because we all have walked in the flesh many times.

            From Father’s perspective, He instructs us in Galatians 5:16
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

           Now the question here is how do I learn to control myself and avoid taking the long walk off of that short pier and learn to RESPOND in situations like this one?  Here is what my 65 years have taught me.

        + Refuse to speak into the situation immediately.  If the other person is demanding an immediate response, politely tell them you need time to think and pray about the situation and you will get back to them. 

        +  Cool your jets!  Tell your soul to SHUT UP!  Call your personal spirit to the forefront to lead your soul and your body.   

        +  Get alone with Daddy and ask Him what HE thinks about the situation.

        +  Humbly repent anywhere He shows you you were wrong.  By doing this you will reposition yourself from your flesh right back into the Spirit.  In most cases the difference between the two is a mere 6 inches!

        +  Ask Him to let you see the situation from the other person’s perspective, not just your own.

        +  When Father gives you His timing about re-initiating with the other person, do so.  I usually respond first in the same manner they used to contact me, i.e. email, letter, phone, or face to face.

          On several occasions, when I have received the kind of communication I described above, Father has said to me, “This does not deserve the honor of a response.”  In addition, when Rog and I have sought counsel for this kind of situation, we were given some wise advice that we have often used.  When you enter into any attempt at conflict resolution with an obviously hurt and wounded individual, it is best not to be lengthy in your responses.  Be brief, kind, loving and where necessary be firm with your God-given boundaries.  It is wise to remember that sometimes people are just not in the right place for resolution.  In this case it is best to release them, bless them and pray often for them.  Waiting can be the strategy Father has initiated.  From my experience, it is difficult to wait, but the reward can be so worth the wait!  It is also my experience that sometimes there is no resolution possible.  There are folks out there that just refuse to be healed and walk in forgiveness.  In this case, even with family members, the only solution is to let go and let God.  Here is what His word says:

        Matthew 10:17-23 The Message:

        “Don’t be naïve.  Some people will impugn (Webster’s’ definition:  to assail by words or arguments: oppose or attack as false or lacking integrity) your motives, others will smear your reputation – just because you believe in Me…When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family.  There is a great irony here:  proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!  But don’t quit.  Don’t cave in.  It is all well worth it in the end.  It is not success you are after in such times but survival.  Be survivors!  Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.”

         I know I don’t have all the answers and I haven’t learned all there is to learn here, but I do know that I have had lots and lots of experience at jumping out of the Spirit and into my flesh.  I am thrilled that Father is giving me lots of opportunities to learn that the 6” difference between the two is a VERY short distance and a simple choice!  It is one I have to make often.  I am beginning to identify my feelings in both places.  It’s a no brainer to me which I like the best!  The peace and rest when the human spirit is fully connected to the Holy Spirit is awesome!  The other is not so pleasant.  BUT we all have the choice of where we choose to walk.  I also know that Father is profoundly showing me that I may be in the midst of proclaiming His love and experience only hatred in return.  My choice is to 1) REACT out of my flesh or 2) RESPOND out of my spirit!  The latter is a presentation of the Father’s love and I am honored to be learning to be a healthy survivor!