I really like A-B-C sort of teachings. I like to look at a couple Scriptures, point out what they clearly say, and apply them to us as Christians.
I feel very secure doing that.
I also like to be able to examine our current experience as Christians, painting a picture of how things are versus how they could be, then call us to make the changes to necessary to experience "how things could be."
Can’t do that today. Have to get out of my comfort zone a bit.
We are making a list of subjects for the purpose of training the men of Rose Creek Village to carry responsibility and leadership. Some of those are simple—or not so simple—theological subjects, but some aren’t.
One of those is …
Where there are two or more people who are not identical twins, there will be conflict.
If you don’t know that, then I don’t know how you’re reading this. Surely only children under 12 months could not know that putting people together produces conflict.
At Rose Creek Village, we have put lots of people together in a relatively small space—at least for Americans. We produce lots of conflict. Our children grow up with it as a normal part of life.
Our children also know that excluding people or dividing from people is sin. It’s as wrong as stealing or punching someone in the face. It happens, but it’s decidedly, unequivocally wrong, and if you exclude or divide you cannot be right with God.
That’s just how it is as a follower of Christ. At least, that’s how we see things, and that’s how we train our children to think.
So, how do we avoid allowing conflict to result in exclusion or division?
Well, I can only give one clear answer to that, but first I want to add all the unclear answers …
Conflict Resolution as an Art
How does an artist paint a portrait? How does a singer sing a song?
There’s a lot of things you can teach a budding artist and a budding musician, but a lot of the skill of painting and singing simply come out of yourself.
Conflict resolution is like painting and singing. You can teach anyone to paint or sing; you just can’t teach everyone to be excellent at it. There is some skill and natural talent involved.
It’s the same way with resulting conflicts. Some people have an incredible talent, others have even a gift from God, and others find it extremely difficult and are not very good at it.
But everyone, whether poorly or well, can do it.
The Secret of Conflict Resolution
For the Christian, the secret of conflict resolution is knowing that you must do it.
We can teach you some things about resolving conflicts. We can tell you that you can say almost anything if you will first communicate—probably non-verbally but possibly with words—that you love, understand, and care about the person with whom you are in conflict. We can explain "mitigating language" to you and how it helps with diplomacy. We can teach you about compromise, give and take, and "win-win" solutions.
But in the end, the ultimate Christian weapon to overcome conflict is knowing that you must.
Is that person across from you a Christian?
Yes, yes, I know he or she is a wicked, carnal Christian who doesn’t care about you and is causing you great harm and pain that you are being forced to bear with great self-denial and compassion, but is that person a Christian?
If so, that is your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, or your child.
More so than your biological relatives.
The tie between you and a fellow Christian is based on the precious, eternal blood of King Jesus, while your tie to your biological family is based on your personal, non-eternal blood.
You cannot separate. If Jesus Christ is showing them mercy, then so must you. If Jesus Christ intends to allow them into his kingdom, then you must allow them into your circle of acquaintances as well.
You are a servant of Jesus.
You are a servant of the greatest King of all time and eternity.
Think butler. Think housemaid.
Then picture yourself at his door, opening it for his guest, and then deciding that you don’t like that guest.
Imagine doing that for some mere human sovereign like Iran’s prime minister or the Russian president.
What would happen to you?
Would you remain in the employ of some mere human like Ted Turner or Bill Gates if you were hired as a host or hostess and you refused entry to one of their friends that you didn’t like?
You are a servant of the King of kings.
Yeah, you get the picture.
That picture is the secret of conflict resolution.
This isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus, and every time we shrug off that picture and ignore a brother or sister or choose to meet separately from other Christians over something as minor as our view of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, eternal security, or worse of all, how loud we sing and with what instruments, then we are telling the whole world that Jesus Christ is not much of a king at all, much less the King of kings.
"Nor do I pray for these [apostles] only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they may also be one in us so that the world will know that you have sent me." (John 17:20-23)