Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another. (1 Pet. 3:8)
If we are all going to be harmonious, does that mean we won’t have conflict?
Conflict can’t be avoided.
- We are all human. It only takes one person in a relationship to act contrary to the Spirit, in one’s old nature, offending another person, and there will be conflict. Or, it might be a misinterpretation of what someone has done or said. Either way, perceived or real, you have conflict.
- We are all individuals, having varying personalities, philosophies, and perspectives. Whenever two different ideas or ways of doing things collide, there will be conflict.
Conflict isn’t always wrong.
Sinful actions and reactions are always wrong. Some conflict, however, isn’t the result of sin but rather differences.
How conflict is handled is what truly matters according to Scripture.
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph. 4:26-27)
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:14-16)
The objective of conflict is harmony.
On the TrainChurchLeaders.com site, in an article about the church leadership skill of conflict management, I wrote:
“true reconciliation … the healing of the relationship … is the primary objective, not resolving the issues”
It is possible to be harmonious without agreeing on an issue. We do not have to like what a person says or does to live in harmony with them.
When properly handled, conflict can make us better. It helps prevent stagnation by getting us to rethink issues and sometimes prepares us for revival.
Living harmoniously is not an option for any believer.
It is not only possible but also commanded that we live in harmony with one another (Rom. 12:16-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-9).
Notice that 1 Peter 3:8 begins, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony …” That means, the offended party must work toward reconciliation as well as the offender (Matt. 5:23-24).
Since this is a command for each one of us, perhaps we should look more closely at what it means to live in harmony. That will be the topic of the next post. You can subscribe to this blog to receive e-mail notification of new posts.