Conflict

Some think conflict is a “four-letter-word.” Not only can one who thinks this not count, they are wrong on this count: it is a misguided notion to place Jesus at the head of some ecumenical pacifist movement. Christianity is inherently controversial. Jesus stated plainly, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34-36). The very presence of the Son of God spawned skirmishes amongst foe and follower alike. One cannot deny its existence. The trick is how to deal with discord. The nature of Christian living, evangelizing, and edifying creates conflict, so we had better prepare to address the issue from a biblical perspective.
First, start at the heart level: Attitude. It wasn’t the Seed, the sower, or the method of sowing called into question in the Parable of the Sower, it is the soil (Matthew 13:3ff). We must be receptive and submissive to God’s Word. Ignorance, rebellion, or “logo-phobia” (the fear of logic) indicates heart problems. Discovering you are wrong is hard; deciding to stay that way is Hell (Hebrews 10:26).
Second, Address the Issue. Having one’s head in the sand hoping troubles will fade away makes matters worse (Cf. 1 Corinthians 5). Anger is counterproductive (Ephesians 4:26); it is hard to think in a fit of rage (James 1:19-20). Giving in “for the sake of peace” is perfumed cowardice, and conciliation at the cost of righteousness produces eternal damnation (Ephesians 4:14). Most conflict is more easily resolved early on; delays make mountains out of molehills.
Finally, Act in Faith (Romans 10:17; 14:23). Whatever course of action we choose in dealing with controversy, we must remember that our guide and compass is God’s Word. It is not about “I’m right, you’re wrong.” It is a “What has God said?” matter.
JDS