Why do people stress each other out? Some obvious answers, in fact one might say “pat answers,” are sin and selfishness. Those who are in the world without Christ are stuck in sin, so they can’t help it. What about Christians? Aren’t we supposed to love one another? Why can’t all believers get along? Are those Christians with whom it’s hard to get along, Christians in name only? Perhaps it is a submission issue. Galatians 5:22-24But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Are cantankerous Christians un-submitted to Holy Spirit? That may sound like they’re being stubborn, but it’s not so clear and defined as that. More on that in a moment.
Contrary to popular belief, our relationships are not designed to make us happy; they’re designed to make us more Christ-like. However, the more like Jesus you are, the more joyful, peaceful, content, and yes, happy you will be. A key to a strong and healthy relationship is intentional love. The type that takes joy in the recipient for the recipient’s sake alone: God’s unconditional love, also known as AGAPE. The best way to love well is submitting to Holy Spirit, which also is a decision to be made. Fortunately, God has given us the grace to make that decision. Hebrews 4:16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Okay, back to the submission issue. On the surface, it may appear that those who are not submissive are stubborn; but in many cases, that’s not the issue. It’s a question of trust. They flat do not fully trust God due to dreadful life experiences. In short, they’re afraid to completely submit to Him. In some instances, they blame God for some hardship or tragedy. “He could have stopped it!” Another common reason is someone who was supposed to be trustworthy, betrayed their trust. That might be a parent, grandparent or some other close relative: anyone of great influence, who should be considered safe and faithful. Of that number, some have programmed them to believe outright lies that are contrary to God’s very nature. Some have learned to hate and absolutely trust no one, and that includes God. If your trust was destroyed at an early age, it would be hard to let down your guard. If that’s you, don’t condemn yourself for any lack of trust you may be experiencing. Shame will not give you the victory! Cut yourself some slack, and allow God’s grace to be sufficient for you. Tell Him about it, it’s not sacrilegious. How are you going to have an honest relationship with Him without being open before Him? It’s not like He doesn’t know where you’re at already! As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to give each other latitude to grow. Try not to take everything so personal. In a number of circumstances, the issue is not the issue, so to speak.
For example, where people are abrasive, they are using that abrasiveness to protect themselves from further pain. It’s called fear. It might appear like they’re rejecting you, or trying to hurt you, but they are actually pushing you away, or at least trying to keep you at bay. Why? So you can’t hurt them. Keep in mind, fruit has a root system, which means there’s more beneath the surface. On a side note, a lot of so called atheists are people who are angry with God. They’re retaliating against Him by using unbelief. As strange as it may sound, being un-submissive to God can be an act of self-preservation; even though, He’s the One Who can heal and set them free from all the garbage.
For you who are struggling with someone: be patient, and regardless of what he or she might do or say, trust Father. By submitting to Holy Spirit, you can love well. Some of the things people have gone through are traumatic, so it may take some time to see the breakthrough, but God is faithful. It might appear he or she will never change, but once they have an encounter with Jesus, his or her change will be sudden. Keep praying, and trust the Lord to complete a good work.