Thursday, February 7, 2008

Conflict

I was talking with a couple of friends this morning and we started really struggling with how to deal with conflict in our lives.

Specifically, conflict with people whom are in authority roles over us. What do we do?

I began pointing to passages in scripture that talk about how Christ humbled himself, to the point of death on a cross, taking on the nature of a servant; but, was countered with passages where Jesus confronted the Pharisees and called them a "brood of vipers".

One of my friends pointed out that Jesus' conflict and humility had a purpose. Both his death and his confrontation were for the sake of the gospel.

My question now is: How does this help me practically in my day to day situations?

I think it does, I'm just trying to figure out how.

2 comments:

Corey Paxton said...

Hey Traci,

I'm glad you brought this up. I think learning to deal with conflict in a healthy way is a huge thing every person can grow in. I tend to have a lot of conflict so I've got some thoughts on this one.

I also think it one of the central things Jesus wants to teach us about. In the gospels, Jesus conflicted with the powers and authorities 48 times because He knew what He was about. Often, I've had a hard time in conflict with "authority" figures because I'm not sure what I really want to see happen that is different than them or I want their approval. Jesus was crystal clear on what He wanted to see happen and whose approval He was living for. I think He has been teaching me about both of those for a while now.

I've found that conflict is one of the biggest opportunities for growth because conflict shows where true differences are, shows what is really inside of me and others, and acts as a catalyst for change.

Recently, I've also been reflecting on a passage that is often thrown around in Mt. 18:20- "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am with them in their midst." This verse is right in the section about dealing with conflict in relationships. Somehow, when we are willing to reconcile with one another, Jesus' presence is there. I think this is what Paul picks up on for the church by describing us as "ministers of reconciliation." (II cor 5:11-21).

One of my mentors used to tell me "run into conflict" (rather than away from it). I usually either just want my way or to run away from it. I believe Jesus wants us to run into it to reconcile in a way that is honest and genuine about hurt caused or a concern raised WITH honor and respect for the other person.

I think we are often afraid of conflict because we could be seen as wrong or we see it as a bad thing, when conflict in Christ is for getting to the truth and experiencing greater freedom- for liberation rather than condemnation.

In our world of broken relationships, I think how we learn to handle conflict with all those around us is a central part of our witness that another way of life is possible. This is an area i continue to grow in.

Corey Paxton said...

yes, that was long