See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and to defile many. Hebrews 12:15 NIV
I make brownies from scratch that will weaken your knees and cause even the most resilient dieter to cave. I know how to nurse a baby, tie a toddler's shoe, talk on the phone, let the dog outside and make dinner all at the same time. And, I can make Argentine food even though I don't speak a word of Spanish (but not while nursing a baby, because the Argentine food is complicated and takes more concentration than our usual dinner fare.)
But ask me to solve a conflict or put me in the middle of some personal tension and I freeze up. I just do not like personal problem solving especially when emotions are running high and feelings have been hurt. I'm worried I'll say the wrong thing, make the hurt feelings worse or push the existing conflict to a deeper, more painful level.
Jesus wants us to be able to relate to one another and offer words of hope and healing even in stressful emotional times. It's not fun, easy or without awkwardness, but it's sometimes a necessary part of life.
So how do we confront conflict in a Christ-like way? It's important to not let fear drive the bus of our emotions. If we don't like to confront people and conflict causes us to feel uncomfortable we are probably normal. If, however, we flee from every conflict and cannot face any clash of personalities or rebuke, then we may need to look inward to see what causes us such discomfort.
Esther is a great example. She was a confronter of conflict and her life was on the line. Her whole generation was at stake! She, however, kept her cool and found the correct person to help in her situation. She spoke to King Xerxes, waited for his response and trusted God for a resolution.
I have so much to learn from Esther's response to conflict! Instead of losing my cool, fleeing or just burying my head in the sand (all very good options for me most of the time) I can trust the Lord that He has given me wisdom, discernment and insight to work through the situation.
Prayer is most often the right answer and here is no exception. If there is a conflict between ourselves and someone else, we need to pray that the Lord will show us how to deal with the situation in a godly way. Praying with the person you are having the conflict with is hard, humbling and very, very healing! If you are like me and you just don't enjoy (and who really does?) being in the middle of conflict or that you aren't effective at problem solving, then pray that the Lord will give you wisdom and insight into the issue. Ask that He would show you the best way to handle the dilemma and what He wants you to do. If you ask, He will be faithful to answer! Just be patient.
Father God, conflict is not confusing to You. You have all the answers and Your sacredness and security are not threatened when people are in conflict with one another. Please help me resolve conflict with others in a way that is glorifying to You. I pray that when I reach out to others to repair damaged relationships, that it will be a reflection of You and how You love us. Thank You, Jesus, for the way You teach us to settle conflict and our differences in ways that show the world that You are the God of Peace. Amen!
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