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Thanksgiving Peace or Strife?

With the Thanksgiving holiday season coming upon us in America, many people are looking forward to what the holiday truly represents in thanking the Lord for family, blessings and lots of food, but at the same time are dreading having to see certain relatives. The relatives who make you feel loved and produce laughter are those you want to spend time around. But most families have at least one (and often times many) person(s) who they want to avoid like the plague due to various past hurtful comments, condemning looks, snide remarks, prideful statements and other strife that they have experienced coming out of their mouth.

2 Timothy 2:20-26 NKJV “20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

So many people have such great expectations that just perhaps this holiday season will turn out much better than those of times past and everyone will love each other. That maybe their own mother or father will speak loving words to them instead of reminding them of all their failures of the past or present, broken relationships and failed marriages. Hopeful that their relatives won’t put them down for their children’s behaviors who have been hurt by a bitter divorce or through ungodly friendships that the enemy set up to cause them to go by the wayside. Desiring just a few loving encouraging words and not criticism or “coaching” tips.

The reality of the situation is that every family has been broken, some in more extreme ways than others, and the enemy will cause people who have been hurt the worst to speak words out of their mouths that will not produce life and encouragement but produce sadness, pain, sorrow, depression, and can cause other debilitating effects on their victims, including death. Hurting people hurt people – especially those who are closest to them, sabotaging their own relationships.

So what is a person to do? The goal is to not ever get into a strife-filled exchange of words that causes the enemy to rejoice and get the victory over Jesus Christ. But what do you do if this holiday season you are in a room with a person who is oozing their anger all over the place, then it is virtually impossible not to feel an effect from it. Those who are stronger in the Lord would usually do a much better job of not taking any negative words personal and not respond in kind to engage in a battle of negative words to hurt them back. But many are not that strong and then enter into the battle and continue into ever increasing heated debates that can eventually grow to rage and crazy behavior which is dangerous to be around.

So in some cases – you must “get out of Dodge” away from the fray to safe territory. Go to a different room in the home or outside in order to avoid being hit directly by the enemy’s verbal assault. Once you are out of harms range from the verbal darts coming after you, then you are able to pray to get your peace back and to pray for them to bind the enemy and declare the scales are removed from their spiritual eyes so they can see the truth so that they can “come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” But everyone has their own freewill and once a person starts to “go off” on you, then this gives legal right to the enemy’s activity in the voices hitting their thoughts and will usually bring in anger, pride and taking offenses and there is not much you can do with them at that point, sometimes for hours or days. You must give them to the Lord.

“Just say no,” was a slogan coined by Nancy Reagan during the 1980’s as a part of the war on drugs. That same mantra should be preached in every church and family when it comes to striving. Simply do not engage with people who want to create strife and walk away to keep your peace. What happens when striving and arguing happens if you continue to allow it?

The Untamable Tongue

James 3 NKJV states:

1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Heavenly Versus Demonic Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

So to stay in peace and out of strife this holiday season….do not say anything that could provoke other people. Be very careful with the words you speak because many people who are hurting will not be able to handle another word that can make them feel guilty, condemned or responsible. No snide remarks…no inferences, no judgmental or pious statements. Then for those who say things to hurt you – keep your peace on and do not retaliate. Think before you speak out a word and reply out of a godly heart and peaceful spirit of the Lord. Walk away to another room or outside in order to keep healthy boundaries until it is safe to re-engage. Until your family members get set freed from all their past soul wounds…they cannot help themselves to say things that will hurt you out of their wounded hearts. They are the walking wounded. See them like Christ sees them…and have compassion and love for them. Yes you need to protect yourself to make sure you are not in direct harms way, but once you are on safe ground – take them to prayer on their behalf. It’s never easy but always take the higher road of Christ and love them like Jesus. Walk in constant discernment from the Lord and the Holy Spirit will direct your actions and words. Have a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday season! Love you.

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