“Deeper love can grow from conflict.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 24, 2022
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Lately, I’ve been grieved that we live in a society where people often choose offense over conflict resolution and reconciliation. Sometimes people use the phrase, “I’m just setting boundaries” as an excuse not to press into relational problems. We may hold onto grudges; we won’t go and talk to the other person, and we refuse to make peace because we are prideful or afraid.
And in doing so, we rob ourselves of the joy and deepening mutual love that can result from pressing into conflict by humbly seeking to understand and be understood.
This obviously isn’t easy. Pressing into conflict for God’s glory and for the benefit of ourselves and others can feel messy. It requires great courage and can be especially difficult if we wrestle with the fear of rejection or with pride.
Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (NIV)
The Lord doesn’t instruct us to make every effort to live at peace with others if we feel like it. He doesn’t tell us to do so if we aren’t angry or only if we know it isn’t our fault. The Lord tells us to seek to make peace because he knows that in doing so we can experience joy and deepening love—and to love is His greatest commandment.
Conflict is the soil from which deepening intimacy can grow. . .if we seek to resolve conflict with humility, kindness, patience, and grace.
I recently experienced this. I thought perhaps I had a misunderstanding with someone I love, but I wasn’t sure. Because I feared rejection, I vacillated back-and-forth for several days wondering if I should go to them about it. I didn’t want to make it worse, but I didn’t want an unaddressed offense to hurt our relationship either.
Then I remembered something I had read: Those who have courageous, whole-hearted relationships see conflict and relational messiness as a natural part of life that leads to deeper intimacy. I also remembered that love takes courage, and that I needed to press through my discomfort and fear of rejection if I wanted to experience healing in the relationship and if I wanted to give love the opportunity to grow.
So, I decided to go to my loved one to talk with them. If there had been any offense between us, I wanted to clear it up. I went with a heart of reconciliation, and my loved one received me with tender grace and humility. I was so grateful. My burden lifted; I felt loved and appreciated, and our relationship deepened.
What if I held onto offense? What if I had decided not to go? Speculations about what my loved one was thinking would have swirled in my mind, and future interactions with them could have felt awkward. But because I decided to go, and my loved one received me with grace and understanding, God was glorified.
But, when we hold onto offense, or we imagine what the other person is thinking, and we do not bring conflict into the light, we can miss out on greater love—and so we miss out on greater joy.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Lord, I surrender to you. I commit to go when I need to seek to make peace with another person. I commit to glorify you. I commit to do what I can to bless the other person. I commit to cooperate with you in my sanctification by following your command to live at peace with others. Amen.
Is there someone you need to go to today to resolve a conflict? Do you need to be reconciled with them? Will you follow Christ’s command to do your best to live at peace with everyone?
Song Glory: Beloved, Let Us Love One Another
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