|Esther 1-2||Psalm 86||Galatians 2|
A queen that is banished, an apostle that is welcome into the fold – that can sum up our readings today. Conflict is part of our humanity. How we deal with it that is something that defines who we are as people of faith.
For King Xerxes pride and self-righteousness played an important role as he banished Queen Vashti. Yes, you can argue that along the way he consulted his most trusted advisers and that his decision was an informed one, but then again I can also argue that the advised he received was flawed and in many ways nothing close to what a good and moral king would do. Nevertheless, this conflict ended up with a Queen being banished from her position. In the long run, we will see how God uses this event to protect his people. So there is some redeeming power to this.
On the opposite side, Paul is finally accepted and recognized by the Church in Jerusalem. That in itself gives him an equal footing with the rest of the leaders of the church and also an opportunity to address some of the conflicts that were splitting the church. The main point of the conflict was related to Kosher- Jewish living versus Gentiles coming to faith bringing in their own customs and food habits. Paul is using this platform to address the issue, and he takes on Cephas- Peter the big cheese. But he does that in a way that is grace-filled and truth driven. As a result that conversation leads to what you can call the first reform in the church. So all in all a good day.
How do you deal with conflict? What drives your approach to a certain issue or another?
I pray that we can all be sensitive to conflict and be able to discern God’s heart in the heart if it. But also for us to have a heart that can be molded and lead by the spirit of God in a way that will benefit those around us.