Some people love conflict. Some avoid it like the plague. Conflict has become a popular form of entertainment. How many “reality” shows are really just setting people up to be in conflict?
Conflict is a reality of life. We are not robots, we are individuals, so we will want different things, and disagree about virtually everything. To be a social being is to be in conflict.
With all this experience and observation of conflict, you’d think we’d get pretty good at it. Alas, I see little evidence of that. That person who can be in the midst of conflict and bring those in conflict not just to resolution but to respect and even community is a rare treasure indeed.
Of course, this is not new. Jesus dealt with lots of conflict, not just with the leaders of the day but even among the disciples. We’re told about some in the Bible, but I’m sure there was much more that never made it to the holy pages.
In Sunday’s Gospel lesson (click here to read it) Jesus gives us a pattern which, sadly, is rarely used. For Jesus’ step one, imagine if we consistently addressed conflict directly and only with the person or persons involved? And underneath Jesus’ next steps is even more that we could learn about handling conflict in a way that builds everyone up, drawing us all closer to God. More on Sunday!
In the mean time, where is there conflict in your life (past or present) that you would like to handle differently, and how might you do that?
Fr. Eric Turner
Collect for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.