Here’s a statement I’ve used over the years. I think it represents some “absolute” truths about living on this planet:
Living things grow.
Growing things change.
Changing things often involves conflict.
I think that conflict is both inevitable and necessary in God’s purposes in this age.
Conflict is inevitable because we are all messed up, and not yet what we supposed to be! (And everybody said, “Amen!”)
Conflict is necessary because without it, we’d all probably stay the way we are! So it’s very important to start with the right expectations of life and of our relationships with others.
Do you see conflict as something to be avoided at all costs? If you do, you will miss God on many occasions. Do you see conflict as the way you force others to submit to your own preferences? If so, you are a manipulator and captive to unrighteous anger.
Or, do you see conflict as one of God’s tools to shape you and others into Christlikeness, fitting you for and keeping you in step with the future He has planned for you? Conflict is one of the tools God uses in the process of maturing His people. Conflict was one of the main things that the Father used making His Son perfect. Jesus experienced almost constant conflict during his 3.5 years of public ministry.
It was part of his being tempted in every way like us. But it was also part of the ongong development of His testimony and character. Even though Jesus was God in the flesh, never forget that he “learned obedience through what He suffered and was made perfect…”
Conflict does not always involve moral failure. Often there are some very important and even healthy reasons for conflict! We will look at a few of those in subsequent posts this week.