When I was in college I received a letter from another guy who lived a few rooms down from me. Although Craig and I weren’t good friends, we knew each other pretty well, which is why I was so upset about his letter. When I read it my first response was to show it to my friends and to rally the troops for war. Craig and I talked and I did my best to set him straight. Looking back on that conflict, I wonder how much my response proved him right.
It’s so much easier to completely reject or completely accept criticism than it is to figure out what nuggets of truth are mixed in with the rest. If we want to grow, we need to be willing to do the hard work of discerning what’s true from what’s not.
One of the most helpful questions to ask yourself when you’re dealing with conflict is this: “Is this conflict about my pride, or is there really something wrong that needs to be addressed?” When we’re focused on feeding our ego and protecting our pride we will only create more conflict. As we continue our series in Youth Group (United!), I want to share step one towards being a peacemaker and building a united group.
Live With A Commitment to GLORIFY GOD
Ok, admit it. You’re disappointed. You were hoping for something more insightful, more helpful, more practical.
But here’s why this matters so much: You don’t know when conflict is coming. There’s no app to give you a notification saying, “Warning, conflict ahead!”
So you need to live in a way that you’re prepared to respond in a way that is healthy, and humble, and glorifying to God.
As a Christian, our greatest desire in life should be to glorify God in everything we do. We know that our joy and God’s glory are linked… the more we live in a way that honors God, the more joy we experience because we’re living for the greatest purpose imaginable.
If you are living with a mindset and a heart-commitment to glorify God in everything you do, then don’t you think that would totally change the way you handle conflict? It definitely would!
Think About How God Responds to Conflict
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Sin is conflict. It’s our rebellion against God. Imagine if God responded to sin the way we respond to conflict in life.
What if God just avoided us or ignored us?
What if God attacked us and sought to destroy us because of our conflict?
Instead, he made peace with us. He didn’t ignore our sin. Our sin was judged and addressed, but he took the punishment upon himself so that peace woudl be restored.
PeaceMaker’s “Slippery Slope”
Over the next few weeks we will be talking through this helpful chart. Take a look and think about how you typically respond to conflict. You can go here (or click the image above) to read more about the Slippery Slope.
As you think about Glorifying God and conflict-resolution, I want to encourage each of you to think about your family. Those are probably the people you experience the most conflict with!
In a lot of ways, it’s easier to think about glorifying God in school or at work or with your friends than it is to think about glorifying God in your relationship with mom, dad, brother, sister; husband, wife, son, daughter. Would your family say that you live with a commitment to glorify God?
Can you imagine what would happen in our church, in our youth ministry, our families, our schools, etc. if we lived with a full commitment to glorifying God in everything we do?!