Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19 (NIV)
Why don’t you like conflict? I’m not sure. I know that I don’t like the stress that conflict brings into my life. I know that I don’t like the destruction of relationships that is often caused by conflict. I know that I don’t like the feelings of brokenness that I feel when I am heavily engaged in conflict. I more than dislike conflict. I hate conflict. I loose sleep over conflict. Conflict drains my energy and wears me out. Conflict makes it very difficult for me to hear your voice and know your will. My productivity goes way down when I am engaged in conflict. For someone who isn’t sure you seem quite sure about why you don’t like conflict.
When is conflict most likely to find its way into your life? I’m more likely to engage in conflict when my life is out of balance. If I haven’t had enough sleep, food or exercise I can easily be drawn into conflict. Why is that? A lack of sleep, food or exercise tends to make me crabby and very short on patience. If any of my other basic needs haven’t been met I can be drawn into conflict then as well. Oh, more importantly, if I haven’t spent time in fellowship with you that’s when I’m probably most easily drawn into conflict. That’s when my life is most out of balance. So, if I want to be able to resist being drawn into conflict I need to make sure that my life is in balance, starting with fellowship with you in your word. Your help comes to me as I am living in close fellowship with you. I need to rely on you to help me to resist the temptation to be drawn into conflicts. That sounds like a good plan to me.
What circumstances are most likely to draw you into conflict? Disagreements of all types draw me into conflict. Some conflict is unavoidable. Some conflict is even desirable. I’m sure that you want me to engage in conflict when I am faced with injustice in the world. You don’t want me to stand idly by when someone is being unjustly treated. No, I don’t. But, the times of justified conflict seem to be more of the exception than the rule. Often times I get drawn into conflict when someone does something that I don’t like. When someone doesn’t live up to my expectations conflict has often resulted. Just not getting what I want has also resulted in conflict. So, there has been a lot of conflict in my life related to my own selfishness and pride. I think it’s important to evaluate any conflict in my life. Yes, it is. I know that you don’t want me to engage in any conflict that is rooted in selfishness, pride or any other sin. No, I do not.
What would you rather do than engage in conflict? What do you think that I would rather you do than engage in conflict? Both questions have the same answer. I want to do what you want. What do I want? You want me to live in peace with others. You want me to make peace my aim and pursuit. You want me to distance myself from selfish, prideful and sinful conflict. Instead of engaging in conflict with others you want me to use all my thoughts, words, and deeds to encourage and build others up in their faith in you. Yes, I do. Will you use your thoughts, words and deeds to build others up in their faith? Yes Lord, I will.
Lord, I will make every effort to live in peace with others. I will make peace my aim and pursuit. I will distance myself from whatever leads to conflict with others. Instead, use all of my thoughts, words and deeds to encourage and build others up in their faith. Amen
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