Live in Peace Even When Dealing With Conflict

Live in Peace when trying to solve conflictThe school’s email shouldn’t have felt like a declaration of war, but it did.

A string of statements catapulted me into attack mode. All of the ammunition residing inside me recklessly shot out of my mouth as I informed my husband of the assault.

I responded before reflecting.

I condemned rather than finding common ground.

I loathed instead of loving.

Why are these ways in which we react to differing opinions? Why don’t we always live peacefully? Doesn’t Ephesians 6:12 remind us that we aren’t warring flesh and blood, but rather Satan and demons?

Living in peace with others is hard when our enemy wants us to fight for what we believe.

The Devil knows how to sabotage our effectiveness for the cause of Christ by putting a wedge between truth and how we feel. The use of our emotions have to be one of His most powerful weapons of self-destruction.  

Our feelings trap us as prisoners of war, especially when it comes to disagreements. I know this from experience, don’t you?

Maybe like me you have felt…

…inadequate when your opinion wasn’t solicited

…threatened by the control of someone else

…frustrated by a decision

…helpless over a situation

…prideful about claiming to know what’s best

These emotions and many more overwhelmed this mom of a difficult child as I read the details about her son’s challenging day and the ramifications of his choices. I disagreed with their approach. (I wanted more encouragement on their part.) I grew angrier with every word I read. (I probably should have practiced more humility!)

My feelings and thoughts imprisoned me, the need to protect against ambush thrummed inside. But was I truly under attack?

What if I created an imaginary war by relying on my feelings rather than focusing on Jesus and God’s truths?

What if you fight against peace when you cling to your opinions?

The Bible talks a lot about peace. In fact, one of the fruits of Spirit is peace (Galatians 5:22)—NOT conflict. God’s word encourages us to live in peace in Romans 12:18:

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Yet, we fail to do this. We turn our fellow human beings into enemies over misunderstanding and/or topics of debate when we aren’t careful.

Like I had with my son’s school.

Like I’m sure you’ve done in the past when entering conflict.

Living life in peace doesn’t eliminate disagreements, but it should change how we handle disputes.

As servants to a faithful God, we are called to seek wisdom and truth in Him, not in ourselves, and especially not in our emotions. Why? Well, one reason might be that:

Emotions chain us to our opinions, preventing us from traveling to the truth.Click To Tweet

Or think about this:

Our self-derived truth convinces us to maintain control.  But at what cost?

Our attempt at control imprisons us between four walls while relinquishing control to our Maker frees us to a boundless realm of possibilities.Click To Tweet

At the end of the day, isn’t winning an argument about our control? About proving what we think and feel about an issue? Can you see the trouble with this?

Proverbs 28:26 tells us that:

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

If our hearts rule the choices that we make then we are fools and doomed to failure. But if we walk wisely, our dependence on God and His truth free us from the personal bondage discord can create.

Peacemaking doesn’t mean we won’t face disputes, but it does mean we look at the outcome differently. When trying to win an argument, we seek to be the sole winner. But peacemaking doesn’t work that way.

God calls us to be peacemakers and as such we must enter conflict with the goal of achieving victory for both sides involved in a disagreement.Click To Tweet

Living in peace is the answer to how to solve conflict

Easier said than done, I know. In the coming weeks I’ll be meeting with my son’s school to discuss our varying views and I want to be a peacemaker, not a battle starter. So, I’ve equipped myself with some biblical truths. Maybe they can help you too.

Consider God first before dealing with conflict.

God first. Then others. Myself last. This is a motto in my house. But how often do we skip to ourselves right away? Doesn’t that become our first stop when faced with adversity?

Before you enter into a dispute with someone, you must get God involved. He guides us. He provides the truth. He will deliver us from our own hearts.

Ask yourself these questions before embarking into peacemaking:

Have I prayed to God about the conflict and the person involved in the conflict?

Psalms 109:4 says:

“For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.”

In this verse, David struggled with those lying about him, but his example promotes a biblical practice for us all. Praying for those with whom we disagree.

We should also pray for the conflict itself and God’s will in it. Seek wisdom from God on how He would like you to handle the situation and for guidance of how to end it amicably.

Am I seeing how God might work through this?

Use questions when trying to live in peace and solve conflict

Clashing opinions can feel a lot like an attack. But you don’t have to look at friction between people as suffering. James 1:2-4 provides the reason why.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

You see, maybe you have this whole disagreement thing wrong. I did when I first read that email. It felt like a treaty undone by the school. The betrayal pained me to the core.

But then there’s James 1:2-4, and oh how thankful I am for it because it tells me that what looks like suffering really is a blessing. It gives me confidence to believe that trials, such as difficult disputes, shouldn’t push us away from God.

Trials should propel us toward Jesus and entice us to be more like Him.Click To Tweet

Recognize that pursuing peace means the conflict resolution likely won’t be what you original thought.

When we disagree with someone, we place our thoughts and feelings above those of another. Kind of human nature. But that doesn’t mean we become a slave to our initial opinion.

That’s why these next two questions are important to ask before you pursue a peaceful end to a debate.

Am I ready to hear/understand a different point of view and find the truth?

Notice I didn’t say accept. Peacemaking doesn’t mean you’ll surrender it all away. But being a peacemaker does require you to show love to another by hearing them out. And sometimes, in listening, your disagreement will transform into a misunderstanding.

Such was the case in Joshua 22. A few of the Israel tribes built an altar that the rest of Israel thought would be used for rebellion against God. Upon seeking the truth, they learned that the altar was for a memorial to God.

Am I willing to trust God with the outcome?

Paul and Barnabas did. When two of the greatest preachers disagreed about their missionary endeavors (Acts 15:36-41), they ended the conflict as peaceably as they could, each “winning” by going their own way.

Paul and Barnabas weren’t happy about this, but they put the future of their missions work in God’s hands. And guess what? God used both teams in amazing ways to do His will. The lesson here:

God’s will prevails even when getting your way doesn’t.Click To Tweet

Solving conflict is about pursuing peace

Remember that solving conflict shouldn’t be about you.

It should be about building relationships despite different opinions and striving towards peace. Psalms 34:14 calls us to “seek peace, and pursue it.”

Selfishness and peace do not go together, so always ask yourself about your intentions when giving an opposing point of view.

Am I being selfish?

A good indicator of selfishness is the word I. While reading the school’s email, thoughts like I wouldn’t handle it that way and I want them to do this instead flooded my mind. A whole lot of me swirled around upstairs.

Philippians 2:3 warns us against acting selfishly:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

This question might be the most important to ask, as most disagreements stem from what we think or feel. By working through our selfishness and applying Philippians 2:3 to the situation, we stand a better chance of pursuing peace in a Godly way.

9 thoughts on “Live in Peace Even When Dealing With Conflict

  1. “What if you fight against peace when you cling to your opinions?” This is such a great point, Crystal! We must allow His truth to penetrate our hearts and let the fruit of the Spirit influence our decisions. And you’re right, making peace doesn’t mean we have to accept what the other person says, just respond biblically.

    • And how hard it can be to respond in a way that reflects Jesus’ character. That’s why I’m glad the Holy Spirit put these questions on my heart to help me stop and think before I respond. Thanks for commenting!

    • Thank you for you kind words! Not sure I’ve fully grasped how to continually pursue peace in all conflicts, but the Lord definitely led me in the right direction as I read His word for the answers.

  2. I so appreciate your transparency and willingness to look at your own part in this situation. Sometimes the conflicts we face are more internal than external, which makes it easy to ignore them and not focus on surrendering our attitudes to Christ. But that’s exactly what you did here, Crystal! You let God reveal where you needed to repent and change. And in so doing, you set a godly example for us, as well as helping to guide us with these great biblical principles. I’ll be pinning this for sure, my friend! Have a great week!

  3. What a great perspective Crystal! I think we are so quick to speak and have our side heard that we struggle to stop and really listen and ask what God wants us to heart through the situation!

    • Slow to speak, slow to wrath. I try to teach my kids this but it is so hard for even me. I’m still learning as we all are. Thankful that I have Hod’s word to show me the way! Thank you for stopping by.

  4. Ouch. I’m feeling a whole lot of conviction from this post. But in a good way. I do tend to make sure I am heard, rather than hearing the other person out when there is a conflict. I sometimes dont trust God the way I should with the outcome. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *