Does my title sound like an oxymoron? It shouldn’t. Great Christians in the Bible experienced great conflict with others. Since we believe there is a “great controversy” which has been called “the cosmic conflict,” we should expect to experience conflict.
It is natural that conflict will come to you. (While writing this very article two of my granddaughters are fighting!) What may not be natural to you is resolving conflict in a healthy Biblical manner. We need not be afraid when conflicts arise, they can actually be helpful. We aren’t always right about everything and some conflicts that arise can put pressure on us to reevaluate our ways.
Maybe you have heard someone super “spiritual” say, “If you just pray and seek the Lord long enough, you will avoid conflict.” The problem with this statement is simple--it isn’t true! Look at the early church—they spent much of their time in prayer. In fact, the church was birthed out of a prayer meeting. They were very focused on preaching the gospel too, yet they still faced conflicts. The church could have split as a result of the controversy in Acts 15 over the Gentile converts and circumcision. Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement so sharply over John Mark’s fitness for mission service they actually parted ways for a while. Think also about the many references to conflicts with the unbelievers throughout the book! And remember, Paul is the one that so strongly urged unity! “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”-- 1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV. He said such things for good reason.
We don’t naturally drift towards Christian unity--it must be encouraged and cultivated. To help us grow in this area we will have a sermon series in the months of June and July with optional additional video training during the week available for a limited time online through Peacemaker Ministries, an organization committed to Biblical conflict resolution. We will be using a series of eight videos they have produced called Resolving Everyday Conflict. I will share more details in the near future. - Pastor Mike