Conflict is NOT an Option

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position, do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21)
This is one of many challenging passages of Scripture for us. It is not our innate nature to turn the other cheek. Even if we seems to let insults, hurts, and disappointments slide at the time, seeds of bitterness and resentment are often planted that spread and sprout as time passes. Rather than an outward explosion, some of us slowly simmer in our anger. And contrary to the old saying, “time heals all wounds,” wrongs left un-mended can fester and spread like an infection. They can also promote a selective memory. By selective memory, I mean where we remember specific things (usually our innocence and the great hurt done to us) as being prominent with any wrong doing on our part diminishing to nothing. By the time we have finished playing it through our imagination we are a near angel horribly accosted by a super villain of epic proportions. It may not be quite that dramatic…but I guarantee we have all done it. And once this occurs, healing becomes all the more difficult.
So if that isn’t enough of a reason to try and follow the Biblical recommendation, here is another insight that came up in my reading. How would you define conflict? Dr. Stuart Scott defines it as, “when both parties sin against one another (in their communication and/or their actions) and are then in opposition to one another.” The key part here that I had not considered before is that in a conflict, we sin against one another. That if I allow anger, vengeance, pride, or ignorance define my response, I am sinning against the other person. Whether that started the conflict is irrelevant, I choose how I respond. And if I choose a sinful response, I can never be in the right until I apologize as well. Someone may choose to be angry with me, but I must not allow myself to repay anger with anger, curse for curse, wrong for wrong, or I am participating in sin. Because both parties have taken a sinful position, being part of a conflict is never an option for God. Instead, we are to confess our wrongs and seek peace as soon as possible.

Conflict is NOT an Option