Conflict is inevitable. People are flawed and the world is broken, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we face struggles in all areas of our lives, relationships and endeavors. We can’t avoid all conflict, but we can try to endure it and learn from it. Conflict isn’t about the obstacles; it’s about the opportunities.
Conflict gives us the opportunity to grow in four main areas:
1. Conflict keeps us humble (2 Corinthians 12:7).
When things don’t go our way, we’re forced to recognize we can’t control everything. We can plan ahead and make wise decisions, but we are not the masters of the universe. Conflict reminds us that we are small and God is big. We get to enjoy the love and presence of God, and we should be content with that, not prideful in wishing we were the masters of the universe.
2. Conflict reveals our weakness and God’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
After we realize we’re not in control, we must humbly ask for God’s help. It’s through God’s strength alone that we can endure struggles. Mustering enough will and courage won’t do it. Eventually, we’ll fail again and our lives will break apart unless we’re being held together by the supporting grace Jesus offers us. God doesn’t withdraw us from all conflict. He helps us through it, walking with us each step of the way.
3. Conflict reveals what we value.
Conflict put us in “survival mode,” where we abandon the things we don’t care deeply about. And the things we have high regard for, we will clutch even closer so that our struggles don’t shake the treasure out of our hands. When conflict arises, take the opportunity to evaluate your values and see how they line up with God’s priorities (Matthew 6:33; 13:44). Conflict brings unique clarity to our lives and allows us to see what really matters.
4. Conflict is an opportunity for growth (James 1:2-4).
People usually fall into one of two categories after they’ve experienced a lot of conflict. Some become bitter, resentful and mean-spirited. Others come out of the pain with great joy, optimism and richer faith. Those in both categories have been beat up, broken and deeply hurt by people and circumstances. The difference maker is how they respond to the conflict they’ve faced. The second group has learned to place their hope in God, not in changing circumstances.
When you realize you’re in the midst of conflict, use it as an opportunity to hold on to Jesus and grow more into the person He’s made you to be.
To explore this topic further, check out this sermon on Resolving Conflict in the Biblical way.