Unresolved conflict is toxic. It disrupts our worship. We can’t be in close fellowship with God and be out of fellowship with others at the same time. Unresolved conflict also affects our prayer life. In 1 Peter 3:7 husbands are told to treat their wives as they should so that their prayers won’t be hindered. Applied in a broader sense, conflict may keep our prayers from being answered. Unresolved conflict affects our happiness. Conflict makes us miserable. When you have an issue with someone, it messes with you, causes damage. If you hold resentment, tension builds and begins monopolizing your thoughts and stealing your happiness. Avoiding conflict, running from it, or pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t remedy the problem. As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers, the neutralizing factor in our relationships and in our world today. To be a peacemaker we must confront conflict. Many times it isn’t possible to resolve the problem or reach an agreement, but it is possible to reconcile with another person and have peace even when you don’t agree. “Blessed are the peacemakers,…”.
Mt 5:9, 23-24; 1 Jn 4:20; 1 Pt 3:7; Jb 18:4; Rm 12:18; Ph 2:4; Ep 4:29; Js 3:17
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Mt 5:9) “So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God.” (Mt 5:23-24) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rm 12:18) Treat her (your wife) as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Pt 3:7)
To reconcile we must initiate conversation. Don’t wait for the other person; go! Jesus says in Mt 5 that if you go to worship and there is someone who has a grievance with you, go right then and take care of it before you worship. We need to try to understand where the other person is coming from. Philippians 2:4 says to look to the interests of others, not just your own interests. When you put yourself in their shoes, you gain a different perspective and new insight. Trying to see things from the other person’s view point can make real conversation possible. And love must be at the center of our peacemaking efforts. Ephesians 4:29 says to speak helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed. Going on the attack never turns out well. Showing love and kindness can bridge the gap between two sides of a situation. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Mt 5:9) Jesus is the Prince of Peace. We are called to model his example.
Do you know someone who brings peace when they enter a room? Do you know someone who brings conflict when they enter a room? What do you bring when you enter a room? Is your presence a joy to those around you or a cause for anxiety? Is there someone you need to initiate a conversation with? Reconcile with? How should you proceed?
If there is someone with whom you have a conflict, whether you are the offender or the offended, pray about the situation, try to look at it from their perspective and understand where they are coming from. Ask God to help you love that person and see them with his eyes. Then go to them and have a conversation, reconcile.
Our Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for paving the way for me to be reconciled with you through your Son Jesus. Help me to extend the understanding, love and forgiveness that I have received to others. Show me anyone that I need to initiate reconciliation with and give me the strength and wisdom to move forward and honor you. In Jesus Name I pray, amen.