When There’s Contention

by Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9 NIV

Few things rattle me. In fact, the only thing that really upsets me is when there’s contention between me and someone I love. Especially hurtful is when I am falsely accused and my intentions and character are called into question. I literally do not function well physically until the matter is brought to a peaceful conclusion. I can’t eat or sleep, I get terrible back pain, and my stomach stays tied up in knots.

In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas disagreed over whether or not to take John Mark with them on a missionary journey to check on the well-being of believers. Verse 39 says, “Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another” (NKJ). Get that. They were on their way to do God’s work but started out with contention and division. God’s work was still accomplished, but how much more joyous it would have been had they settled their difference and not had this negative incident to be recorded.

Only those closest to us can cause us emotional pain. The deeper the love, the deeper the hurt can be. We can only be betrayed by someone who knows us well enough to misuse the secret places of our heart. And we can rest assured that, just when we are on our way to do God’s work, Satan will slither in to scare up division—often initiated by a close loved one—in an ultimate effort to thwart the move of God’s hand.

Don’t fall for it. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:12-13 NKJ).

When we are wearing the armor of God, we are looking through the eye shield, or visor. Let this visor represent God’s lens that allows us to see others from His perspective. We may not be able to prevent contentions from arising, but from inside the armor we can view loved ones as God sees them. Like you, they are precious in God’s sight even when they are being disagreeable. We can respond by doing our best to remain calm, speaking in a soothing tone, and communicating our desire for peace to prevail between us.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

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About the author: “Live significantly!” That’s the inspiring message of Sharon Norris Elliott, award-winning author, editor, agent, engaging speaker, and licensed minister. Author of 12 books, and associated with several prestigious organizations such as AWSA, ACE, and HSBN.tv, Sharon is also co-director of the WCCW conference. She is founder/CEO of AuthorizeMe® Consulting, Coaching, & Editing Firm and Literary Agency. www.AuthorizeMe.net

Sharon’s latest release, A Woman God Can Bless, walks through the house of your life with you and Jesus. This book will help you ease open the doors of old patterns of behavior, ingrained habits, and accepted dispositions with which you’ve grown accustomed. Within these pages you will find gentle prompts that will help you let the Lord remodel those closed rooms by redesigning your thinking and behavior to line up with His will for how you should then live.

Join the conversation: How do you resolve contention?


3 thoughts on “When There’s Contention

  1. Great reminder, Sharon. Since our mother’s admittance into assisted living after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, things have been tense between the siblings. Thank you.


  2. Thank you, Sharon, for these essential insights. Sometimes I think we think the more important a person is to us the more they will be motivated to not hurt us. Sorta like, “Why else did I get married if not to have my needs met? Love means he is motivated.” But only God is perfectly motivated for our best–and He knows what’s best. Only He doesn’t take my human responses personally. Thank you for prompting me to think these things through, Sharon.


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