“It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling” (Proverbs 20:3).
When facing conflict, we need to avoid two extremes: Heedlessly engaging in battle or running away. Both of these actions do not really honor God, or help others. We all know people who fall into these categories.
Some people consider themselves “crusaders” who set out to right every wrong. But the wise author of Proverbs cautions against this by concluding, “every fool will be arguing.” On the other hand, some dive into foxholes every time they see conflict. They do this not because they are practicing wisdom, but because they do not wish to be inconvenienced by the hassle of conflict. They have chosen the easy way out, even when God has called them to address the situation, unpleasant as it may be.
In general, we should not inject ourselves into conflict unless others ask for our help. Life comes with many problems and most of the time we grow through working through them. So do others. Just as wise parents do not bail their children out of every difficulty in life, so we should not rush to arms over minor skirmishes that others face. We do not always need to choose sides, nor do we need to always get involved.
If called upon to mediate a dispute between two people, seek a Godly solution that honors God and benefits both. For example, if you witness injustice done to a person, be ready to point that out if called upon. Your words will benefit the victim and help the perpetrator to see his or her errors. In that case you would be helping both. We should always point out error gently, as Scripture commands us (Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:24-25), so we do not alienate our hearers.
If God has called us to a position of authority, such as a parent, we will hurt others and ourselves if we fail to address conflict when we need to. Avoiding conflict is not always the correct course of action. Certain situations call for action, which if not addressed, will grow out of control like a forest fire.
How do we know when to engage? Sometimes we don’t know, but we can always pray for wisdom and timing. Ask God for guidance and His leading to know when and how to face conflict. Often things die down of their own accord without much involvement from us. But we still need to seek God’s wisdom in all of this.
Finally, seek peace in all you do, but recognize peace is not always easily gained. Sometimes we have to follow the biblical steps in dealing with conflict (Matthew 18:15-17). Trust God’s wisdom in all situations, knowing He will lead us to the best course of action.
Posted on Fri, December 11, 2015
by Sam Petitfils