Conflicting Points

Last night in a community group that I regularly attend, we discussed the topic of conflict and what Scripture has to say about it.  We looked at several passages, with the main one being Matthew 5:21-26.  As conflict is always an extremely diverse and wide subject to tackle, here were some key observations from our discussion:

  • Conflict is Neutral.  We sometimes can approach conflict as “evil” or “bad,” but in light of the fallen world we exist within, “conflict” is simply an environment of tension that could either foster growth or destruction.  When our group looked at James 4:1-3 it was apparent that our selfish desires can create conflict.  But if we were to equally chase after God’s desires, wouldn’t that also create personal and corporate conflict?  Come to think of it, do you find The Apostle Paul more of a “peacemaker” or “conflictmaker”…or a mix of both?
  • Peacemaking is a Process. When we looked at Paul’s famous verse in Ephesians 4:26, he says, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” However, there is a great caution in taking Paul’s proverbial statement literally assuming you can’t go to bed when angry with another person.  Sure, some things should be dealt with easily…however, other conflicts are way to complicated and tragic to assume you mustn’t go to bed angry with a friend, enemy, or spouse.  The point is having a heart of reconciliation and a working progression towards peace…not an objective rule of always making sure you aren’t angry when you go to bed…with the position being more about not indulging your anger to the point of sin. (But it sure does help you go to sleep easier when you aren’t angry with another!)
  • God’s Obsession. As we were discussing the idea of God being obsessed with fractured relationships, we wondered if an even better, more holistic picture of God’s obsession is His obsession with “Justice”…which then funnels out into a wider, more challenging mission for the church to exemplify.
  • Peacemaking Over Peacekeeping. Peacekeepers are nice to have around if you usually want to get your way, but the conflict is never truly addressed where reconciliation and transformation can take place.  Sometimes its hard-lined rules like “don’t go to bed angry” that create peacekeepers, giving up too quickly, instead of addressing certain conflicts where patterns can be investigated and greater relational health achieved.

More thoughts here and here.

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~ by Dave Smith on May 17, 2010.

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