June 11, 2012

Attacking Conflict

Acts 4:1-13

They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
—Acts 4:7


At the time, the religious leaders believed they had eliminated the Jesus Movement by crucifying its leader. But now his followers were healing people in Jesus’ name and proclaiming his resurrection! The council responded to this renewed conflict by arresting, intimidating, and threatening the apostles.

Many people act the same way when someone confronts them. They attack because they are more interested in winning the fight than maintaining a relationship with their opponent. They view conflict as a contest in which they need to control others. It usually begins verbally with insults and nasty names, cursing and condemning the one they see as their enemy. The hatred that builds up may escalate to physical blows—and in extreme cases, murder.

Many attackers in conflicts engage lawyers to sue their opponents, resulting in a wasteful expense of time and money. This approach to conflict will never find a peaceful solution. It only makes things worse.

We need to remember how God responded to the conflict caused by our rebellion against him. He could have unleashed his holy wrath and annihilated us, but he didn’t. God approached us in mercy and love to deal with our sin and to reconcile us to himself, making peace by the blood of his Son (see Romans 5:8-11; Ephesians 2:15-16).

Father, how amazing that you have shown your love for me. While I was a sinner and an enemy, Christ died for me. How can I thank you? Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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