I have a horrible memory for written text. And for spoken word. And for episodes of shows. Basically just a bad memory in general. But today’s Gospel is a lesson that has stuck with me, perhaps because it is so straightforward and so applicable to life.
Life is going to be filled with conflict. French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Such experience is bound to bring problems and dissent, and we have the opportunity to grow through that conflict.
I grew up in a very loving but somewhat passive aggressive family. Healthy conflict didn’t really exist and thus my conflict resolution skills were somewhat lacking as I entered adulthood. When I met and married my husband, his direct manner of handling conflict was both disarming and refreshing. I had to learn to move beyond the uncomfortable feelings of conflict and learn to speak honestly. What I found in the resolution of conflict was a great peace and an even deeper appreciation for our relationship—which was stronger than any issues which would develop.
There are times in the Bible when the words of Jesus are veiled and mysterious and just plain confusing. And there are times when He is refreshingly clear and straightforward. Jesus has given us the perfect model for conflict resolution for our Christ-centered relationships. When He is the center of a relationship, respectful honesty and straightforwardness will bring about a greater love and a deeper understanding of the other.
He tells us to take the matter directly to our brother, and if that doesn’t resolve it, bring a friend or two along for support and accountability (my modern day paraphrase). He tells us that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there. (Matthew 18:20) He isn’t just talking about being there for a prayer meeting—He is talking about being there when we are working to resolve conflict. He is with us.
How do you handle healthy conflict? Are there conflicts or unhealthy situations in your life you are hiding from? Ask the Lord to guide you regarding these issues and help you to seek resolution and peace.
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MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.