|Handle Conflict Quickly
By Greg Sanders
Matthew 24: 23 “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift”.
Is there anything more important then giving God the priority He deserves by worshiping Him? The immediate answer seems to be “Of course not.” Nothing could be more important then worshipping God, could it? Jesus says something a little bit shocking. He says to put your worship of God on hold until your relationship with people is correct. He is teaching a principle that is repeated in the New Testament. The principle is this: our relationship with people affects our relationship with God.
This is a huge deal because people often neglect their human relationships with no thought of how it may affect their relationship with God. I have noticed a few common reactions to conflict.
• Avoidance: When someone encounters an offense, they just avoid the person and the subject altogether. They alter their routines and conversations to simply avoid having to deal with the issue. This type of coping mechanism actually begins to bring distance in other relationships because you don’t want to have encounters with the person who has offended you or anyone connected to them. You drift into a lonely, distant, withdrawn place of sorrow.
• Pretending: Another reaction that people embrace is to pretend like nothing ever happened. This seems noble, just pretend it is all ok. However, a relationship that is based on pretense has no ability to cope with the pressure that comes in life. Pretending is just a facade that offers no healing.
• Rage: This reaction does not hide anything. It vents every thought, every bit of anger and harm it can muster. This response does get everything out in the open, but it often does additional harm in the process. In the end, this person not only had to mend the original offense ,but also had to repair other collateral damage.
• Bitterness: Any offense that is not dealt with correctly will eventually lead to bitterness. Avoidance, rage, and pretense only covers an offense long enough for bitterness to fester. If you have been employing any other method besides reconciliation, realize today that bitterness is where you are headed.
Jesus said to place a priority on reconciliation. Don’t accept a substitute for real healing. Substitutes will not heal your relationships on earth and will create distance in your relationship with God.
Today’s Challenge: Deal with the offenses in your life quickly. Your Spiritual health is too vital to ignore the fact that your interaction with people affects your interaction with God. Go to Him in prayer and then go to the person with whom you have conflict. Deal with it quickly and correctly so that you can know the healing of God.