Conflict. No one really likes it, but it’s a reality of life. In any relationship and especially a marriage relationship, conflict is an invitation to deeper intimacy, if we let it. I’ve found this to be so true with me and my wife. When we address our issues head on, we eventually get to a place of understanding each other and grow closer. However, when we avoid conflict, we begin to sabotage our connection. I would even say the enemy of intimacy in relationships is avoidance. Nothing good ever comes from avoiding conflict.
Jesus addresses conflict really well in Matthew 18 in regard to someone hurting you. In fact, Jesus is so clear about addressing this, that if we follow this model we will not only see amazing freedom in our relationships, but will start to reflect and release heaven on earth. Wow! Read this:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:15-20 ESV)
Wow! There are amazing promises and power attached to doing conflict well.
From experience, my only caution to Jesus’ words here is choose your battles. Not every altercation is worth a confrontation. Sometimes I’ve realized I’m being overly sensitive and just need to let it go, giving them the benefit of the doubt. If I am uncertain about a situation, I will usually pray about it a day or two. If it still bothers me, then I know that I need to have a healthy confrontation.
Conflict is not always fun, but it can be your friend. Done well, it can bring you closer and build a deeper and stronger relationship. It even has the power to prove the world that we are His disciples. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” John 13:35.