Saturday, May 19, 2007

The 'Sin' of Conflict

Confession time. I am a long-time, certified, card-carrying conflict avoider.

It's the way I was brought up. It's the way I believed. It's the result of seeing second-hand the major conflicts in my church and first-hand the minor conflicts in my family as I grew up. (My dad was an elder. I couldn't help but overhear. My mom and sisters were, and are, strong-willed. I couldn't help but witness.)

And while "conflict-avoider" has become an integral part of my nature, I have come to the conclusion that it is just plain wrong.

As in "sinful."

Moses was not a conflict avoider. Nor was any good judge nor any good king nor any prophet who followed him.

Jesus was not a conflict avoider. Nor was any apostle nor any missionary who followed Him, in scripture.

Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of the human condition.

God's word shares all kinds of ways to resolve it. Some are obviously better than others. And a few are absolutely priceless.

Some "for-instances": Matthew 5:23-26. Matthew 18:15-35. All of John 17. Romans 12:17-19. I Corinthians 6:6-8. Philippians 4:2-9. I Peter 1:22, and 4:8 for emphasis. I Timothy 5:1-2.

Just a sampling.

None of which has anything to do with avoiding conflict. All of which deal with conflict in an imperative, urgent manner.

I know that resolving conflict can have the look of sin. It can tempt sin. It can involve sin. But, handled as advised by God, it doesn't have to - and not dealing with conflict can lead to even worse problems.

No two people are ever going to agree on everything - you can bank on it.

But God - who is perfect harmony among three Beings as One - can help resolve conflict between and among us, if we are willing to be the instruments of His peace.

3 comments:

mmlace said...

Thanks for sharing that, from another "conflict-avoider." I really appreciate the passages of scripture that you included here. The other night I told one of my friends that the events in my life over the past several months have given my spiritual life a renewed sense of realness. And these verses in particular are kind of a reflection of that, as they are very, very practical. I love how His Word is still so useful in everyday life, many, many years after it was written (II Tim. 3:16, Heb. 4:12). I think my favorite verse of the ones you listed is the first one, Matt. 5:23-26. It's a reminder that no matter how much I may love to worship God always (Rom. 12:1 is one of my all-time favorites), more importantly is that I make sure things are right between me and my brothers and sisters. Keith, thank you for sharing your thoughts and thank you for sharing your heart.

David U said...

I think most of us, to some degree, are shy of conflicts. It's the path of least resistance.....the easier way.

Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers".....and the ironic thing is that you CAN'T be a peacemaker unless you are involved at some level in the conclict that you are trying to bring peace to. Right? I think Jesus calls us to be involved all the time, peace or conflict, and in all things and places LIFT Him up.

Just my take. Easy to preach, hard to live.

DU

David U said...

conflict......not "conlict"! Where is my editor? :)