Conflict - a positive thing?
If the Lord were to come to me and ask if I would like a
little conflict in my life, I would give Him an emphatic "No!" This is a
strange answer to give when all through the Scriptures, various conflicts,
resolutions and results are strongly in evidence and very often bring great
results. Paul and Barnabas are a good example of this. They 'sharply'
disagreed over whether or not they should give Mark John another chance at
ministry with them. The argument was so strong that they finally went their
separate ways and because of it, the area that the gospel went to was doubled.
Personally, I find conflict of any kind very scary because
although I realize that if it is handled the right way it can bring about good
results, I am also fully aware that handled the wrong way it can do immense, and
sometimes irreparable, damage.
This has recently been brought home to me in a personal
situation. Where two people, or more, are gathered together for any length of
time, it is inevitable that at some stage there will be a differing of opinions.
In this case the division was so great that total separation between two parties
was deemed to be the only solution. However, it was felt that if we asked the
Lord for help, He would resolve it in such a way that would minimize the damage
that was happening and also help both parties to move forward. And this is
exactly what has happened.
When I sat and thought about it later, and thought about the
miraculous way God intervened, the positive aspects of it started to come to
- It kept us on our knees in front of God's throne
- From the incredible resolution that came, we were
reassured again as to the amazing sovereignty of God and His amazing love
- It helped the parties to look beyond their own personal
parameters and to see that there are other ways to do things
- Where relationship had previously been a struggle,
tentative steps towards it were being forged
- It helped us to formulate good guidelines as to how to
deal with future conflicts that will arise
- Because there will be ongoing accountability, the
relationships involved will be mutually strengthened as we see each other to
This shows me that conflict where we allow God to be involved
makes a big difference. Biblically there are many examples of this -– take
David and Saul for instance. David, who knew he was to be king, was miserably
running from Saul and refused to intervene in God's plan by killing Saul when
he had the chance.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego decided that they would not
bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's image. The Bible says that the King was
furious and threatened to throw them into a blazing furnace of fire. I love the
mens' response. "...O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves
before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we
serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.
But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve
your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
God's intervention on their behalf meant that there wasn't
even the smell of smoke on their bodies even though they had been thrown into a
blaze that killed the soldiers that put them there!
After enjoying these examples of apparent 'great victory',
it must be remembered that God does not always bring the resolution that we
dream about. Cain and Abel's conflict ended up with the death of the 'good
guy' but his example of faithfulness still speaks to us down through history.
Had he not died for what he believed in, his one and only sacrifice would not
have had such significance and probably wouldn't even be remembered today.
I was talking with a friend today and she was sharing a
practical way to deal with conflict. She said, "If I see trouble brewing, I
say to the Lord, "I don't know what's happening here but would You mind
taking over and dealing with it? Please give us the tools to deal with this
situation." The Lord always does!"