July, you have been a very full month! We knew the topic of conflict and confrontation would need many voices to speak about it, so we were so honored to feature three unique perspectives on conflict in our personal, professional, and spiritual lives. 4word: Colorado Springs leader Donna Carlson gave real perspective to what conflict can look like in our relationships and how we can meet them in a healthy way. 4word board member and former Nike executive Patty Ross drew on her 34-year well of leadership knowledge to identify keys ways we can trek through conflict in the workplace. And 4word advisory board member Steve Haas wrote timely and bold words on how Christians should view spiritual conflict, both in the world and in their own lives.
Conflict really doesn't discriminate! It loves to seep into literally every corner of our lives and see what kind of chaos it can create. This is why Satan considers it a powerful tool. Our sin nature means we will never be 100% immune to conflict. Its draw will always find the leverage it needs to give us a giant tug. But just because you know you will eventually fall victim to conflict doesn't mean you throw your hands up and just let it happen.
Conflict may draw you in for a variety of reasons. Maybe it's a matter of greed, anger, hatred, or feeling unloved? Every one of those emotions has a root cause that is also a breeding ground for conflict. Greed? Unhappiness with what God has given you. Anger? Inability to see God's plan. Hatred? Unable to appreciate God's depth of love. Feeling unloved or undervalued? Forgotten God's definition of "value."
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." Matthew 5:23-24
Getting involved in conflict may feel like a noble gesture, at the time. You may feel like you're defending your faith, standing up for your relationships, or gaining respect in your workplace. But God does not view conflict as something positive. In the verse above, Matthew writes that God doesn't want anything from us if we have an issue (re: conflict) with someone. Why? Because if you are at war with someone, your mind is constantly clouded with that situation. It consumes you and takes center stage. And God doesn't settle for second place. He wants all of you, a requirement you can't meet if you've gotten yourself embroiled in conflict.
So if conflict is unavoidable and God doesn't want to share you with it, what can you do? Get yourself ready. Think of conflict like tax season. If you're smart and unwilling to put yourself through hell every April, you spend all year actively preparing yourself to file that tax return. You organize, label, and steadily reclaim that fearful power taxes tend to hold over all of us.
This same plan of attack can apply to conflict. Prepare yourself for conflict by remembering what your purpose is: to bring honor and glory to God. When conflict comes for you, steel your mind and your heart to remain focused on resolution, not a vindictive victory. Make it your goal to emerge from a conflict as a better person and child of God, and do everything you can to give those on the other side of the conflict the same chance to have the same outcome. After each conflict you survive, consider steps that can be taken to deepen the timespan between now and a future conflict.
Conflict and confrontation are favored tools of the Enemy. He is so clearly putting them to work in today's society, with seemingly no end in sight. Dear reader, it's time to change that. Charge into conflict armored with God's weapons for peace. We as Christians have the ability to tip the scales back toward God's understanding and all-encompassing love. So let's do it.
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