United with Christ, we work to address conflict so we can be of one mind with one another.
There will always be some tension with someone about something.
I am not just talking about conflicts with the people of this world. I am speaking about the conflicts we experience in our Christian homes and congregations. Have you been given the silent treatment? Have you ever been “ghosted”? Have you caught wind of someone not wanting to speak to you or be around you? If you have, you know that a problem needs to be addressed or the situation won’t be resolved, even if you give it time.
Conflict resolution can be difficult. Most times, we don’t want to hurt a person’s feelings or get our feelings hurt. So we let the hurt continue, hoping it will just go away. Instead, it festers and eventually explodes, which benefits no one.
In the workplace, the human resources director may have a psychology degree to help address workplace issues. In our homes and churches, we address conflict with the spiritual resources our good Lord has given to us in his Word and the household of faith. These spiritual resources are at our fingertips and within arm’s reach.
Listen to the apostle Paul’s guidance when it comes to conflict resolution:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
The apostle’s point is that we Christians are united with Christ. We have comfort from his love that paid for our sins. The Holy Spirit binds us together. We have been blessed to enjoy our Father’s tenderness and compassion so we can be aware of what may lead to major conflicts.
When we care only about ourselves, looking to what is going to butter our bread or get us a pat on the back, there is bound to be conflict. But we have been united with Christ and with fellow believers in Christ. These Christian relationships are what encourage us to work hard at “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” The blessed relationships we have in Jesus are what permit us to address conflict and seek to bring about a God-pleasing resolution. It may not be easy, but by God’s grace it can be done.
What makes it especially humbling is that we need to confess our sinful contribution to the conflict. We need to lay our sins before our brother or sister and ask for forgiveness, while he or she does the same. These confessions, done in Christian love, open the door for forgiveness to be announced, just as Christ forgave us.
Christ considered us more important than his own life. He humbled himself to lift us up. Christ had our best interests at heart. He resolved the sinful conflict we had with our heavenly Father so that we are encouraged and equipped to resolve the sinful conflicts we have with one another.
Author: Snowden Sims
Volume 110, Number 05
Issue: May 2023