Personally, I hate the feelings connected to conflict. Even the word conflict sounds painful! It has a harsh ring to it. The etymology of the word involves the prefix con- and the suffix –flict. Con- is from the same source from which we developed the word constipation. And –flict is the origin of afflicted, as in, What a drag! I’m afflicted with constipation. (Okay, I haven’t really fact-checked all that, but that’s the image I get when I think of conflict—constipated affliction).
Relational conflict causes me more bodily stress than anything I experience. Some think it’s stressful to speak to crowds, and it can be. But, I’d rather speak to thousands than experience tension with just one—especially someone I care about.
As I’ve followed Jesus for 30+ years, I’ve come to learn that conflict can actually be part of God’s transformation strategy. Conflict can be an adventure of change.
So how can relational conflict possibly be an adventure?
Think of it this way: the one factor present in all adventures is conflict. In order to have an adventure, you need some sort of obstacle to overcome.
Conflict forces us to overcome an obstacle. Obstacles invite us to seek Jesus more intensely. That’s when the adventure begins—when the conflict drives us to our knees because the relational situation is typically unclear, difficult, and tension filled.
We need a good Guide to navigate the path.
As we walk with Him, He transforms us into deeper, richer, and more meaningful followers. Conflict is can be a regular catalyst for Jesus to cause new personal growth.
Don’t always run from conflict… instead, take a slow walk with the King of Adventure and see how it changes you.
Question: What’s your typical default response to relational conflict? Share your style here.