"Conflict with Authority"

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By: Autumn Sisk

1 Timothy 2:1, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (NIV)

Have you ever had a coach or teacher that didn’t like you or that you just didn’t like? It happens to everyone. We all have different views and personalities, and at times this causes conflicts.

My friends called me a “suck-up” in school, mostly because I respected my teachers and coaches and got along well with them. I always tried to listen in class, turn in my homework on time, and do what was asked of me. I didn’t want any trouble with anyone.

In the tenth grade I landed in the classroom of a young, attractive English teacher. I was certain that I would like her just as I had liked most of my teachers in school. After a few weeks in her class, I realized that she did not care at all for me. She didn’t seem to appreciate my efforts to be a good student. In fact, she seemed to completely loathe me. She picked on only me in the classroom. I was a straight “A” student, and in fact had never made a “B” in school, so when I received my research paper back with a huge red “F” on it, I cried.

I had worked on that paper for weeks and truly thought it was a good paper. All of my other teachers thought I was a good writer. I even had a friend’s dad, who was a former teacher, read over my paper to make sure it was acceptable. My other friends who were mediocre students all received higher grades. I felt like it was a conspiracy against me. I tried to talk to the teacher about it, but she was very unhelpful and unkind. To this day, I have no idea what it was about me that she disliked so much.

Even though my faith in Christ was strong in high school, my reaction to this teacher was not good. Instead of trying to love her, I decided that she was a terrible person and that she was not worth my prayers. I did just the opposite of what Jesus calls us to do. In the Bible, we are urged to pray for “everyone,” especially those in “authority.” Even if we have conflicts with them, we are to pray for them because Jesus loves them. God wants His children to be able to live at peace, even with those who make our lives difficult.

You may be having problems with an authority figure. Instead of doing as I did with my teacher, take the time to pray for him or her. God has a way of changing your heart toward those for whom you pray. It seems that once you begin making an effort to pray for someone, your heart softens towards that person. Sometimes you will even begin to like the person. Offering prayers for someone is the greatest gift you can give. I often wonder how things would have turned out if I had started praying for my tenth grade English teacher.

Don’t wait to start praying for those around you, particularly those with whom you are in conflict. It will make a world of difference!

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me your Holy Bible as a learning tool and guide for my life. Right now, I want to ask you for your blessings on _______________________ (fill in the blank with the name of someone with whom you are having problems). Please help me to resolve my issues with this person and live at peace with him/her. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Being a Girl Who Leads: Becoming a Leader by Following Christ, by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio

Wisdom on Getting Along with Parents, by Mark Matlock

Think About It:

Is there someone with whom I am really struggling within my daily life?

(Teacher, coach, parent, sibling)

Am I critical of authority figures because of personality conflicts or conflicts of interest?

Is there anyone that I know I need to begin praying for today?

Live It:

Make a list of everyone with whom you are having difficulty in your life.

Begin to pray for these people by name, each day for a week. You will likely see a change in your views of these people within a few days.

When your friends or others mention the people you have begun to pray for, be sure not to speak badly of them. Instead, make a point to only think and speak positively of them.

Power Verses:

James 5:16, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

Romans 13:1-2, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (NIV)

Luke 6:27-28, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Autumn Sisk. All rights reserved.

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