So, let me start by blessing you and just proclaiming prosperity and favour over you and your loved ones this year. I absolutely enjoy the atmosphere and hope that comes with the dawn of a new year. I truly feel like God is saying, outside of the fact that many New Year messages and well wishes are being circulated, be aware and sensitive of the fact that He truly is doing a new thing. So many new things are coming your way, resurrection of dead dreams and rekindling of past desires for doing great things for Him, breakthrough and hope restored.

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Lately I have faced the challenge of loving in the midst of conflict and opposing ideas. It became apparent that to maintain honour in a relationship when our opinions differ is somewhat of a challenge. I was asking God why I was struggling so much on an emotional level, and why my heart was constantly hurting and just plain downcast over silly disagreements regarding really trivial things. God gently, yet clearly, pointed out to me that I was feeling anxiety in my relationships because I was still trying to force connection, which results in me attempting to control and change people, ironically, by loving them. It is a trap we so easily become ensnared in, the misconception that if we emotionally look alike we share a deep connection. We readily believe the one who has a different opinion to ours is in fact of inferior worth, not yet at our “level” and therefore in desperate need of our well intended guidance and opinion on the matter of their “faith.” The culprit is our misplaced belief that the shape of our relationships and connections is a testimony of our faith and Christianity. This means we think when we get along with everyone and everyone likes us and says good things about us we are in fact very good at being Christian. When connections break apart, when people leave, and when we find ourselves having to admit that we couldn’t connect with a specific person due to difference of opinions we assume it as a personal affront to our identity and anointing. I think we ultimately expect others to just submit to our doctrine and the resulting way we live because isn’t it the very power of God we are walking in? And shouldn’t that power be enough to bring the evil and sinful nature of others to their knees? The problem here lies in our idea that we can ultimately be responsible for someone else’s perception and opinion of us. We try and bring about change in others because of a presumed fault on their part and an inherently perceived responsibility to right it on ours. If we behave Christ-like enough and with enough authority we should have the power to merely approach a person and they should instantly change and become aware of our greatness….”in God” usually comes only as an afterthought. This feeling of responsibility to change and “convert” others comes from a sincere need essentially, because we were created for intimacy, community, and connection. We ultimately need one another, but fall prey to the lie that we need to look at things the same, that we need things in common, in order for a relationship to work. If you do not agree with me then I cannot tolerate your way of doing most things, we are now on opposite sides, and it then follows that I will begin to discern many other faults in you. Sadly this is how we think when we are not driven by love but by a need to be loved, without the essential desire to establish family and community.

The truth of the matter is that in no sense and situation can you ever be responsible for someone else’s thoughts or lifestyle. And in all truth, the validity of my salvation can never and will never be dependent on your opinion of said salvation or my person. It is imperative to discern between a confrontation spurred by sense of duty and one urged by the Spirit of God. It is absolutely ok to address sin and misconduct, given that it is always done in love with the focus on edification and bearing one another up. When we attempt to steer the other person we undermine and devalue who God made them, placed in them, and where He wants to take them. Back off and love from a distance. Don’t let fear cause you to make decisions that undermine what it is that God is trying to do – Danny Silk

If you haven’t read Keep Your Love On by Danny Lee Silk I seriously encourage you to get your hands on a copy. He focuses on keeping honour alive in relationships and maintaining healthy connections and relationships. He likes to remind you that you are responsible for YOU. Something powerful he said was when you allow yourself to be the victim in any situation you consequently cast the other person as the villain, creating a dynamic set for disaster and no resolution. You ultimately make the choice to be a victim of someone else’s actions. And the only thing this accomplishes is stripping you of your power and handing it over to your “villain.” This person now occupies your thoughts and their words become the script you live by. It really is a decision we make by ourselves, this thought to be hurt and offended. No one can make you do anything, no one makes you inferior and worthless by saying you are. I laugh at myself, because I’m so ready to kick against the notion of “you MUST,” and yet when someone judges me I readily listen and obey the lie that says “I MUST be like this.” I say again that the power to not be insulted and offended is already yours. You make the decision to participate in negative behaviour and indulge the lies that you cannot have a relationship with someone based on the fact that they do not share your opinions. A simple word for the emotion that jumps up in our hearts when disregarded or countered is offense. I want to encourage you to keep your peace. I want to tell you that having healthy community and connection is at the centre of God’s heart for you, and it is absolutely attainable. There is such beauty in diversity, and it is never something that we should fear. Listen, carefully listen, so that you may understand, and from your understanding will sprout grace and truth and wisdom.