“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
God loves peace and promises to bring about perfect peace at the end. Yeshua demonstrated this attribute of God by declaring, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Why then do we find so many conflicts documented in the Bible and why do we live in such a contentious world. Some people may shake their fists at God as the source of conflict but James tell us from where conflicts arise – “Where do quarrels and conflicts among you come from? Don’t they come from this, namely your passions that battle within your body parts?” (James 4:1).
You see, we are the problem. We are the source of conflict and no matter how hard we try, or what ingenious systems we develop we cannot bring about complete peace. But, we do have the ability to bring about peaceful results on a smaller scale. Our fallen human nature, and an opportunistic enemy – Satan – is always acting and reacting in such a way that creates conflict. But we have hope!
They key ingredient to conflict resolution is love, love for God and love for each other (Matthew 22:36-40). Why, because love is unselfish and where selfishness exists we will find pride. This is what James meant when he said, “your passions that battle within your body parts.” The first step to conflict resolution is to look beyond your own feelings. We cannot resolve conflicts when our hurts, shame, guilt, anger, and pride are in the way.
This is never easy! Your feelings may be justified and your response may well be warranted but acting on them may create more harm than good and can make resolution more difficult. These same feelings can lead to sin which can impede our prayers and affect our relationship with God. This is why Yeshua said, “if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24).
Today, if you are offended by someone or something and you have not resolved your conflict, the first step is to be honest with how you are feeling. Next, be honest with the offender but not in a confrontational aggressive manner. Discuss the offense before it festers and let love be your guide in what you say and do.
After thousands of years of conflict and attempts at conflict resolution it may be safe to say we have failed at finding the perfect solution. We must look to God, our ultimate peacemaker, to guide us as we make peace with our family, friends, colleagues, and the strangers we meet along the way. “And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua” (Philippians 4:7).