“Hatred stirs up strife; but love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:12
Conflict is an inescapable part of our lives. It dwells within our families and homes and within our businesses amongst coworkers and customers. Even sacred places, like churches, are not exempt from the threat of an occasional dispute.
Off the top of your head, how many relationships do you know of that have been broken because of unresolved conflict? Sadly, sometimes there is simply no other solution than to part ways. However, we can see through Scripture that God encourages us, even commands us, to always seek peacemaking as our first course of action when it comes to resolving conflict.
In Matthew 5:9 Christ, who is described as the Prince of Peace in the book of Isaiah, teaches “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God.” The children of God are equated with being peacemakers. The two are intertwined, our walk of faith should include the pursuit of peace.
CALL TO ACTION
What can we do to be the peacemakers that Christ desires us to be?
- Deal with Conflict – Avoiding situations that involve conflict is not the answer. Ignoring does not make the issue go away. In fact, it is often made worse the longer it goes unanswered. Purposeful peacemaking doesn’t let conflict fester but rather identifies and deals with an issue sooner rather than later.
- Avoid Unnecessary Conflict – You may not know the hearts of others, but you are very aware of your own intentions. Check those! Are you looking out for the good of those involved or are you stirring the pot? If it personally involves you, have you gone to the one who has offended you? That should always be the starting point (Matthew 18:15). If it doesn’t personally involve you, do you have permission to speak on behalf of someone it does involve?
- Be Humble – To be an effective peacemaker, one must possess humility. There are times when resolving conflict means someone has to be the first to admit a wrong. Sometimes there are even requests for forgiveness. Being open and honest oftentimes requires vulnerability and that in itself is humbling. We all have our weaknesses. We all have our shortcomings. Remember, as my husband so wisely says, to meet people where they are and not where we think they should be.
“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”