Conflict between Abram and Lot’s herdsmen; conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees; conflict between Nehemiah and Tobiah and Sanballet; conflict between Herod and the disciples.
Tension, disagreements, misunderstanding, jealousy, spitefulness and hatred. We have all had to wrestle with others in our lives who, for whatever reason, take offense to our good intentions. Recently my mother and stepfather went to a cell phone store to upgrade their phone. They were so excited to get a phone on which they could see their grandchildren face-to-face. Unfortunately, the phone did not work when out of range of a wi-fi. When they returned the phone, they were told they had to come up with another $100 to purchase one that does.
That is where I jumped in. My first thought was that the clerk was trying to pawn off the older version to my parents who know very little about technology. I bristled at the thought that this young salesman took advantage of my elderly mother and father who are just trying to see their grandchildren’s happy little faces. And since I own the contract, I tried to fix the problem. However, I was met with resistance, defensiveness, and an unwillingness to make any concessions. Yuck! Now I have created conflict.
We are not promised a smooth walk as Christians. In fact, we have example after example of conflict in the Bible with God’s people. We are also given the remedy for conflict: honor the God whom we serve with all that we say or do. How should we address our challenge our thoughts that lead to conflict? Tension rises more frequently than one would like to experience. Before making a move, speaking an ultimatum, or pounding out a decision, we might want to settle within ourselves the possible outcomes, keeping in mind that honoring God in all we say and do is the goal. Oh, did I say that resolving the tension by getting what I want is the goal? Perhaps not. Perhaps the real goal is to align my spirit with God’s Spirit in view of all who come in contact with me. Me, a messenger who can point others to Christ or put a stumbling block before someone who might be nearing the cross.
Perhaps you think I am taking this too seriously, yet I agree with C. S. Lewis who said in Weight of Glory, “It is a serious thing … to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”