Conflict Resolution

Those who adhere to Christ’s evangelical teachings can be conflicted about how the New Testament advises us to resolve conflict with others.  Our pragmatic attitude will create mental dissonance with what Christ teaches us.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matt. 5:9)

As I’ve noted before, we are called to be peace makers not peace lovers.  We have to be willing to work to make peace happen.  Peace will not flow into a void – into an absence.  Peace will become present only if we do the things that make for peace.

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27)

Counter intuitive for sure – do good to those who hate you.  Find yourself in conflict with someone?  Jesus says do good to them.  This advice is picked up by St Paul:

If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:20–21)

The problem with putting these  teachings into practice is illustrated very well in Russian writer Nikolai Leskov’s   short story, “Figura,” which I wrote about recently in a couple of posts beginning with One Self, Many Selves.   Knowing what to do may be half the battle. But doing it, which may be only half the job, is an uphill battle.