The Rules of Conflict

The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left. – Genesis 13:9

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Conflict is a part of every relationship: whether between friends, a husband and wife, or the members of a family or church. The question is not, “Will conflict come?,” but rather, “What should we do when conflict arises?”

First, when conflict arises, you should always seek a biblical solution, a solution that honors God. Second, everyone needs to understand that compromise will be necessary and be willing to surrender some “turf.” Finally, if all else fails, it may be necessary to go in opposing directions … agree to disagree … or even separate (Paul and Barnabas). While this is not an appropriate choice in a marriage relationship, it may be the only option to maintain peace in a church, a family, or between friends. Sometimes such splits are only for a season, to give time for God’s wisdom to prevail.

Abram (Abraham) and his nephew (Lot) were not able to share the same fields due to the size of their herds, so they separated in order to keep the peace. The key to the resolution of their conflict was the fact that Abraham trusted God and was willing to compromise; therefore, God was honored (by at least one of the parties) and peace reigned. In conflict, it will always be the one who dies the most and trusts the most who will bring peace.

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the friction-less vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict. – Saul Alinsky

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