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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Living With Conflict Removing My Rose-colored Glasses

Who enjoys conflict?

I think my brothers were inspired, motivated, and energized by creating conflict -- to annoy me! However, I think most people would prefer to live in a conflict-free environment.

But look around you. It’s obvious; contention appears to be everywhere. Our days are uncomfortable, unsettling, disturbing, and dangerous in many parts of our world.

Just think of Ukraine.

While we may understand how power-hungry despots insist on creating war, it’s troubling for us when strife appears in unlikely arenas of our lives.

It bothers us when loving relationships are threatened because of disagreements. It’s troubling when insignificant theological differences threaten the church’s unity. And when opposing political views alienate us from each other, we quickly recognize: We cannot escape conflict!

The first step in learning how to live with conflict is to remove our “rose-colored glasses.”

As a spiritual director and pastor, I frequently listen to the disillusionment of people who experience conflict within the church. We want to believe that the church is a safe, “conflict-free” environment.

Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). And may I add: Where two or three assemble in Jesus’ Name, there will sooner or later be conflict!

It should come as no surprise for any of us that conflict happens! Whether within the church, home, school systems, or government. Friction is part of life -- always has been and always will be!

The first step in living with conflict is to acknowledge this as reality.

While it may be attractive to imagine a world with no war, contention, or hostilities, that’s an imaginary world -- not the real world.

Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

As long as we’re in this world, there will be conflict. The good news is: Christ gives us instructions on how we can discover peace in conflict.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of these principles with you in the weeks to come.

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