Confession time. I am a long-time, certified, card-carrying conflict avoider.
It’s the way I was brought up. It’s the way I believed. It’s the result of seeing second-hand the major conflicts in my church and first-hand the minor conflicts in my family as I grew up. (My dad was an elder. I couldn’t help but overhear. My mom and sisters were, and are, strong-willed. I couldn’t help but witness.)
And while “conflict-avoider” has become an integral part of my nature, I have come to the conclusion that it is just plain wrong.
As in “sinful.”
Moses was not a conflict avoider. Nor was any good judge nor any good king nor any prophet who followed him.
Jesus was not a conflict avoider. Nor was any apostle nor any missionary who followed Him, in scripture.
Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of the human condition.
God’s word shares all kinds of ways to resolve it. Some are obviously better than others. And a few are absolutely priceless.
Just a sampling.
None of which has anything to do with avoiding conflict. All of which deal with conflict in an imperative, urgent manner.
I know that resolving conflict can have the look of sin. It can tempt sin. It can involve sin. But, handled as advised by God, it doesn’t have to – and not dealing with conflict can lead to even worse problems.
No two people are ever going to agree on everything – you can bank on it.
But God – who is perfect harmony among three Beings as One – can help resolve conflict between and among us, if we are willing to be the instruments of His peace.