Conflict has been in every normal relation since the beginning of time and has been a common issue with which to deal. It has been experienced in intra-personal and interpersonal relationships. Intra-personal conflict can be noticeable by double mindedness, resulting engaging oneself in the things one does not want to do, not doing the things that should be done or should do. It has an effect on our interpersonal relationships. It’s observable dating, marriages, in immediate families, extended families, occupational environment, among religious groups, cultures, and nations and can affect generations that follow if not dealt effectively.
Conflict started in the Garden of Eden, where God made us in his image and as free moral beings. God foreknew that conflict would be a challenge. For this reason he laid guidelines by which we can live, resolve conflicts and eventually live peacefully with Him, ourselves and others. Our creator established protocols in the bible by which any nature of conflict that emerges can be resolve.
When man exercised his freedom of choice, ignoring God’s guidelines for life, conflict was born. The trend continued ever since the fall. We have read about it with Adam and Eve, Cane and Abel, with Noah and the people of his age, and the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot. In the New Testament we see conflict with Jesus Christ (The Prince of Peace) and the Jewish religious legalistic leaders. It escalated to the point of them maliciously with selfish motives orchestrated his crucificition. Following we see conflict in the church, when the apostle Paul addressed the issues of disunity, slander, gossip, quarreling, outbursts of anger etc.
We were created for authentic relationships of diverse natures. First our relationship with God, following by with our relationship with spouses, children, extended families, neighbors, employers and employees and society as a whole. However when we come together as human beings with the freedom to think and do whatever pleases us, without considering God guidelines for harmony in any situation, we find ourselves in conflicts. This may occurs due to our selfishness, independence, pride and arrogance of lack of knowledge on how to deal with the issues, or unwillingness to humble ourselves and yield our behavior to our creators will.
Conflicts are opportunities to maturity. It is an opportunity to grow and develop, in wisdom, compatibility and have the grace and ability to engage increasingly peacefully fruitful relationships. When miss managed it escalates the scenario and increases contention encourages separation, division, and divorce in families and eventually hostilities and wars which can extend for generations.
Meaningful conflict resolution starts and ends with Jesus Christ. He is the Prince of Peace and when he exited he left that peace with us in seed form. After He left He sent the Holy Spirit to help us work it out from within. His resolutionary principles can be found from Genesis to Revelation. Conflicts are not resolved automatically and cannot be swept under the rug or as some people say “let sleeping dogs lie”. Diligent deliberations, dialogues and negotiations with the help of The Holy Spirit and biblical principles are the means by which all conflicts can be resolved.
People with bible based belief system may find it easier to resolve conflicts, especially those who “born again” believers. This is possible because they have we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. The measure by which we hear and obey will be the measure by which we will experience the resolve of conflicts. Still carnal immature Christians can have greater difficulty; while mature Spirit filled Christians find it easier to experience peace.
A great part of the Jesus Sermon On The Mount in the New Testament deals with conflict resolution. The apostle Paul was in conflict with Christ and Christians, but after being born again on the Damascus road, he continued the ministry of Christ and cautioned of against being quarrelsome, encouraged to live in harmony, to demonstrate love, to forgive and have compassion, be kind and hearted with tender-hearted actions. Paul continued on not to render evil for evil and mentioned in Philippians 4:9 “Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies”.
James talked about watching you words and how destructive the can be. (James 3:4-6). Jesus and his disciples encouraged peace by their words and example.
God through the prophet Isaiah prophesied Isaiah 11:6 saying “the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them”. Until this prophesy is fulfilled, we are to deal with conflict always depending on God for His help, applying His wisdom, love, concern, sensitivity, self awareness, patience and constructive compromise.