Resolving Conflict and Living in Peace with One Another
One incredible blessing of knowing Christ is the peace knowing Him brings. The “peace that passes understanding” is real and available to every believer.
It seems, though, that Satan will do almost everything to destroy the peace God’s children are promised. Whether through accusations, harassment, or false guilt, as a roaring lion he still seeks those he might devour.
Conflict Destroys Unity
One thing Satan uses to help break the peace in the lives of Christians is conflict between them. If Satan can entice believers into conflict, especially open conflict, unity in the body is destroyed.
In the Book of Philippians, Paul mentioned two women, Euodia and Syntyche, urging them “to agree in the Lord” (4:2). The source of their disagreement is not mentioned nor is the outcome of his request. The rift was so troublesome Paul asked for someone he calls a “true partner” to “help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side.”
Here were two believers – followers of Christ, laborers in the gospel – separated by conflict. I do not think it is an accident that Paul closely follows this plea with a promise of God’s peace. “Don’t worry about anything,” he says, “but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Conflict and Peace Do Not Lightly Co-exist
In those celebrated times when Christmas is celebrated during a war, with both sides observing a cease-fire, each knows conflict is only hours away. More often the “peace” is not peace at all; it is merely a lull in hostilities.
In much the same way, Satan exploits our natural tendency to selfishness. Conflict comes and peace flees. Worry, anxiety and frustration are all fruits of conflict.
But, do you notice anything? Those are not the fruit of the Spirit. Those would be love, joy, longsuffering, faith and peace. Where there is conflict, the fruit of the Spirit is gone because the Spirit has been quenched. We cannot pretend to embrace the “peace of God that passes all understanding” while in conflict.
Turmoil, fighting, conflict, hatred, bitterness and the rest are not signs of the Kingdom.
It is significant that Jesus, in His most well known address, “The Sermon on the Mount,” specifically mentions those who make peace: “The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). This means those of us not involved in conflict have a responsibility to assist those who are. In this, we reflect the people for whom the Prince of Peace gave His life and promises His peace.