What To Do When Conflict Abounds

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life without conflict?  We can't even imagine it.  Maybe that is why God said, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard,  and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." {I Corinthians 2:9}  Part of what we have to look forward to is an existence without conflict.  This side of heaven, however, is filled with it.

Habakkuk wrote, "Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds." {1:3b}  He knew what it meant to be in the center of a relational storm.  The brawl that was brewing for Habakkuk?  The Babylonians.  Who are your "Babylonians"?  A family member? A friend? A co-worker?  And more importantly, what do you do with your Babylonians?

Habakkuk doesn't offer answers, but other parts of God's Word do.

1. Understand where conflict comes from. Conflict raises its ugly head when we don't get what we want. On both sides. There is no conflict if at least one side agrees with the other.  Even if you feel you haven't sinned against your "Babylonian" there will still be conflict if you feel you haven't been treated in the way you want or should be treated. We are in conflict when we perceive that we are not getting our desires.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:1-2

2. Douse the "fire" with love. Love...putting your "Babylonian" first, assuming the best of him or her, throwing away the record of wrongs...

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

3. Be Jesus. Realize that the other person may not understand completely how their offenses are affecting you.  We are most like Jesus when we forgive. Try to let go. Give grace.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

4. Understand that you are not Jesus! I know, I sound like I am contradicting myself. Years ago a wise man told me that sometimes peace is only possible in separation.  Recently, I heard "Separation is there for the purpose of reconciliation".  Sometimes true peace doesn't come in the form of a restored relationship.  Maybe there is no apology, no repentance.  Maybe there is a pattern of abusive behavior.  Maybe you only have so much you can give.  You are not Jesus, and He is the Only One that can deal with all the dysfunction.  It is only through Jesus that true and complete peace will come when we reach eternity.  The problem with peace with others is that there are two sides, and you simply can't control what the other person does. So accept that "peace" looks different depending on which "Babylonian" you are dealing with. It may mean full restoration of the relationship if there is a willingness on both sides to work it out or it may mean there needs to be some distance.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

My prayer for you and me is that we will grow through the conflict and learn to love others in a deeper way as we move through the struggle. 

Read the other posts in this series on Habakkuk.

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