Overcoming Conflict by Following the Examples of Biblical Siblings
Part 2 of an Interview with Amberly Neese,
Author of Common Ground
The Scriptures hold the key to living at peace despite our differences. In each week of the four-week Common Ground: Loving Others Despite Our Differences Bible study, Amberly Neese combines stories of sibling rivalries from the Bible with personal experience, humor, hope, and her love of God’s Word. Common Ground provides a how-to for overcoming conflict by examining sibling relationships from the Old and New Testaments including:
- Joseph and His Brothers: How to Combat Jealousy
- Moses, Miriam, and Aaron: How to Work Together Despite Differences
- Mary, Martha, and Lazarus: How to Appreciate the Contributions of Others
- Rachel and Leah: Having Compassion for the Plight of Others
These stories point readers to peace and reconciliation in all their relationships, reassuring them that it is possible to find common ground with everyone—despite their differences. Each week focuses on one story and overarching theme, exploring a primary Scripture text as well as other related passages to help give clarity on how to love one another despite differences and disagreements. Each day’s lesson starts with a Scripture Focus and Today’s Key Verses, includes questions and exercises for reflection and application, and ends with a Call to Action.
Q: What can we learn about Moses and his siblings about working together despite our differences?
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam grew to understand true leadership. They also understood they were stronger together. Moses was the shepherd, Aaron was the priest, and Miriam was the prophetess. Moses led the people physically, Aaron led them in the religious practices, and Miriam led them in song. Moses, Miriam, and Aaron were also not without weakness, but their teamwork has earned them a place in our hearts as leaders, pioneers, and example of people who worked hard to find common ground for God’s glory.
Q: How can we move from seeing things as a competition to appreciating the talents and contributions of others?
The first step, of course, is to decide to celebrate others. Moses and his siblings understood that asking for help, recognizing one cannot do it on his/her own, and practicing humility makes one stronger.
Moses and Aaron were both humble enough to work in tandem as the leaders of God’s people. The two brothers: God’s chosen prophet and shepherd, Moses, and God’s chosen high priest, Aaron, were not threatened by the other’s gifts. Moses was relieved when God called on Aaron to help shoulder the responsibility of speaking on behalf of God.
Throughout their ministry, together and separate, they were not afraid to let the other shine. During the long journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, Aaron often took a backseat to his brother. Aaron was not always prominent or active; he often played a supporting role.
If we can learn from their example and choose to root for the rise of others, we begin to understand our connectedness as the Body of Christ.
Q: How does looking deeper into another’s situation help us to find common ground?
Looking more deeply into the life of another allows us to practice empathy and foster connection. If we are going to find common ground with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and frankly, with ourselves, we must put aside our judgment, keep our eyes on Jesus, and stop trying to earn His attention and affection. We can focus on that which we share—the forgiveness and love of God, our need for grace, our desire to know Him more, instead of our differences.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the format of the lessons in Common Ground—what do readers do on their own, then how does coming together as a group work?
For each week of the four-week study, there are personal lessons divided into five sections, or days, which participants may choose to complete each day or all at once depending on their schedules and preferences. In the participant’s guide, there is a Group Session Guide at the end of each week’s lessons to facilitate the session. In addition to these guides, the Group Session Guide Leader Notes provide additional helps including a main objective, key scripture references, and overview for each session. There is a 20-25 minute video for each week, available for purchase, that corresponds to each week’s study.
For more information about Amberly Neese, visit her website www.amberlyneese.com. She is also active on Facebook (@Amberly Neese – Comedian/Speaker), Twitter (@amberlyneese), and Instagram (@amberlyneese).