Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Don't let conflict fester

"Christians in community are never to give up on one another. We must never tire of forgiving (and/or repenting) and seeking to repair our relationships. Matthew 5:23-24 tells us we should go to someone if we know the person has something against us. Matthew 18:15 says we should approach others if we know that we have something against them. In short, it is always your move to repair relationships in community, God always holds you responsible to reach out to repair a broken relationship. A Christian is responsible to begin the process of reconciliation, regardless of how the distance or alienation began."
~Timothy Keller, Gospel in Life, p69

Conflict is a big thing.  It's such a destructive thing.  It is something that cannot be avoided, but can be dealt with.  Some conflict breaks into anger, disagreement and action - I find that conflict can be dealt with, because it is very visible, and everyone can see the need to fix it, so work towards resolving it.  The scary kind of conflict though is when people just disconnect and refuse to talk or work with each other - and refuse to even acknowledge each other.  This kind of conflict festers, and it creates awkwardness, so much so that everyone ends up walking on eggshells and no one is really willing to even mention the conflict, let alone address the issues and start the road to restoration.

That's why I feel Keller's quote above is so important.  It is each of our responsibilities to initiate the reconciliation, whether we were in or wrong, or were wronged.  And we follow the procedure of approaching the person, but if that doesn't work finding someone else to come with us and approach them again. I find with 'quiet conflict' someone usually doesn't even admit there is a problem, so if someone raises the issue with them they dismiss it... finding someone else to come back with you and address it again makes it much clearer that yes there is something that needs to be sorted.

But all in all we are to never give up on one another.  NEVER. If we are a group of believers we have to be expecting that we are going to be spending eternity with each other - so how can we give up on someone?

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