Why can't we all "just get along"? Well, in short, because we're human. We're sinners. We can simply blame Adam & Eve, or we can follow Christ's example within that relationship. All relationships with any depth will experience some level of conflict. Relationships we don't even acknowledge can experience conflict. It's all part of living in a fallen world. The good news is that we can look at Christ's life on earth and see that even He was subject to problems in relationships.
Having been in ministry for more than 20 years, even though I have always purposely strived for peace in all relationships, I have learned that not only are some conflicts in life are inevitable, there can be some that are completely out of our control. Scripture tells us that peace with others is not always in our complete control, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18 (italics mine)
Recently, a conflict came to light that caused me to take a hard look at the topic of conflict and living peacefully with other believers. This particular conflict was so complex as to cause me year-long reflection on Biblical peacemaking. When faced with a fellow believer's intense anger and intolerance towards me, I sought Christ for a deeper understanding of peace, forgiveness, confession and reconciliation. In short, as a follower of Christ, how should I respond when treated badly?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:19
The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thess. 5:24
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Gal. 6:1
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. Psalm 18:30
Tara Barthel co-author of the book, "Peacemaking Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict"
Peacemaking Women by Tara Klena barthel and Judy Dabler, Published by Baker, 2005
Resolving Conflict by Jill Briscoe, David C. Cook Publisher, 2003
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, Third Edition by Ken Sande, Published by Baker, 2003
Thriving through Ministry Conflict: By Understanding Your Red and Blue Zones by James P. Osterhaus, Joseph M. Jurkowski, Todd A. Hahn, Zondervan Publisher, 2005
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