I avoid conflict. I hate it. I loathe it. I will do nearly anything to not have a confrontation with those I love or even a mere acquaintance. I have read books on the subject and tried several tips they give about changing the word conflict to clarification and all that. The thing is, to me, clarification feels like conflict. A change in semantics doesn’t change my response.
Christ did not avoid conflict. He walked straight into it if it was for the benefit of truth. Imagine the day he cleared the temple of the vendors. Talk about conflict with a capital C. Matthew reports that he knocked over tables. He was angry at the desecration of his Father’s house and he let them know that they were in the wrong. He didn’t stand to the side and say to his disciples, “Well, you know, this really isn’t right so don’t be a part of it.” He got in there and got his hands dirty. He let every person in the outer temple know that what was happening was wrong.
God has been working with me on this. There are times when truth must be spoken even when it is painful. There are times when speaking the truth leads to conflict, confrontation and clarification. During those times, I must be strong and listen to His leading. I must approach the conflict with the love that only He can give. I am required to speak the truth, for to not speak would be a lie and endanger my relationship with others and with God. It is not an easy lesson by any means. I have a long way to go and only God’s love and practice will get the lesson through my rather thick skull.