In life, conflict is almost inevitable. It is messy, personal, and difficult to navigate, especially when it involves people we care about. Proverbs refers to this kind of conflict as “strife,” and as Christians, we are called to avoid it whenever possible. However, there are times when we make mistakes that lead to strife, or when it hunts us down, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. When this happens, we need to approach the situation with wisdom and maturity, recognizing that simplistic solutions will only make things worse.
I love the way Proverbs 17:14 describes the beginning of strife as letting out water. Once it starts, you can’t shove it back into the tube, and pretending nothing happened is not an option. We need to confront the situation and have an honest conversation about what led to it. This kind of conversation works best between reasonable people who want to do what is right. However, sometimes we find ourselves in a quarrel with a fool, someone who only wants to be right and served. In those cases, the best thing we can do is close our mouths and slowly step away.
It’s essential to recognize that strife can get personal, and it has the effect of hardening people to one another. Trust is not quickly restored, and forgiveness does not necessarily mean that we are ready to let down our walls and trust again. When dealing with complex strife, we need to allow for time and be wise in recognizing that complexity.
Finally, we need to remember that there is always more than one way to perceive a situation. Proverbs 18:17 warns us that the one who states their case first seems right until the other comes and examines them. We must be willing to listen to others and examine our own perspectives to find a resolution.
As Christians, we are called to live at peace with all men, so far as it depends on us. We must do all we can to serve, persuade, and reconcile. However, we must also recognize that sometimes, the best thing we can do is to let go and let God. After all, He is the ultimate peacemaker, and He will bring us the peace that passes all understanding.
If it has been difficult for you to deal with strife and anger, feel free to contact us for individual counseling in Anaheim Hills. We also provide phone and online individual counseling now for your convenience.