You cannot, NOT have conflict! Our fallen nature is prone to failings, fallouts, and false assumptions. Living the Christian life is not a life where we avoid conflict, it is living a life where we know how to navigate our relationships through conflict. In fact, conflict can be a doorway to deeper levels of connection when we navigate it in a healthy way.
Week 1 - Fight to win - Saul vs David
When we enter conflict, it is often our goal (consciously or subconsciously) to win rather than to reconcile. Conflicts do not have to make people winners and losers. A good question to ask ourselves is, “Do I want to BE right or do I want our relationship to be RIGHT?” Don’t look for the win, look for the win-win and resolve conflict in a healthy way.
Take away: Not lose-win or win-lose but win-win!
Week 2 - Head in the sand – Esther
When facing conflict in interpersonal relationships we tend to put our “heads in the sand” as we ignore it, avoided it and procrastinate dealing with it. This tends to make the conflict grow and deepen its grip, and feeds our desire to place our heads in the sand. God calls us to face our conflicts and attempt to resolve them in a healthy way.
Take away: Enter the tunnel of chaos and face the conflict
Week 3 - Run and hide – Jacob and Esau
During conflict resolution, our tendency is to run away from the conflict. We tend to cease communication and hide from the reality of the unresolved conflict. This was the initial reaction of Adam and Eve when conflict entered the narrative and it continues today. Sadly, the ultimate result of the “run and hide” strategy is separation and loss of relationship rather than resolving the conflict in a healthy way.
Take away: Don’t create gaps build bridges for relational closeness
Week 4 - Avoid and deny – Peter and three denials
Avoiding the person with whom we have unresolved conflict seems like the easiest thing to do. Who wants to face conflict? It’s very stressful. Our reflex is to just avoid the person and pretend like there’s no problem. How many of us know people who have never resolved a conflict and allowed it to become a point of separation? Denial is reducing the importance of our conflict when God says that resolving conflict is more important than giving offerings!
Take away: don’t be imprisoned by avoidance and denial find freedom in connectedness and community.