Admit it: most of us don’t like conflict. And for those of you who do … well, the rest of us try to avoid you.
That being said, not all conflict is bad. In some respects, conflict can be a gift. Consider this:
- Conflict may move a person from apathy to action.
- Conflict may lead to the righting of a wrong.
- Conflict is a symptom that something is hurting. Resolving the conflict brings healing.
But I believe one of the best gifts conflict can provide is clarity. In the midst of battle, core beliefs surface. When faced with a difficult challenge, we must decide what to hold onto and what to let go. In other words, “What am I willing to die for?”
When the apostles, Peter and John, were confronted by the Sanhedrin and asked how they healed a lame man, they responded: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:8-10).
But then Peter goes a step further: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Conflict brought clarity. This is what I believe. This is who I believe in. This is what I’m willing to die for.
When conflict is handled in a thoughtful, healthy way, it actually serves a good purpose. It helps us identify wrong behaviors that stem from misguided beliefs. It causes us to question our assumptions. It highlights the difference between opinions and core convictions.
While we shouldn’t go out of our way to create conflict (remember, those are the people we avoid); neither should we see all conflict as inherently negative.
Handle it well. Pray through it. Seek clarity.