Conflict happens. In relationships and rivalries, in places of work and worship, in venues as public as politics and as private as family, it is inevitable. Our human condition creates it. Competing agendas will call out for it. Living in shared space makes these collisions a staple of everyday life. Knowing and accepting this should absolve us of a lot of guilt, frustration, and anxiety. But it rarely does. Why? Because we get very little instruction on how to resolve conflict and even less encouragement to give it a shot. For most, deeply conflicted relationships seem inevitable, and sadly, for many it’s enjoyable.
Sunday we will continue our series on what makes God happy. I do think “reconcile” is one of his favorite words. And bitterness and rage have to be among his least. The Bible kind of tells us that. Better news is that God’s word also gives us a playbook for dealing with these difficulties. There is where we will park the sermon car come Sunday and provide a template for dealing with differences, disappointments, divisions, and destructive deeds.
Between now and then, you have some homework to do. First part is easy – think of a conflict in your life. Second part, pray that wherever possible, you can be part of a healthy handling of the things. Or at least commit to not making things worse. That’s it. Simple enough. Pack that problem up and bring it with you to worship Sunday asking God for some how-to and hope.
Here’s my confession and disclaimer. I wrestle with this too. So I will stand before you as a fellow struggler seeking heaven’s help not just for my people, but with you. Till then.