June 10, 2012

Escaping Conflict

Genesis 27:41-45

“Whoever would love life and see good days must … turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”
—1 Peter 3:10-11


One of the wrong ways to handle conflict is to try to run away from it, hoping the problem will disappear. Jacob cheated his brother, Esau, and deceived his father, Isaac, to gain the family inheritance. His mother, Rebecca, then urged him to run for his life from the consequences.

Responding to conflict by escaping may include changing jobs, breaking up a marriage, moving away, leaving home, or changing churches. In extreme situations it may involve taking one’s own life to avoid dealing with a serious problem.

But running away from conflict only postpones dealing with the problem. Sometimes when our personal safety is threatened we need to get some distance away. It may be helpful to call a time out to calm down, pray, and think about the next action we need to take. But a temporary break should be followed by earnest efforts to seek help and to work to resolve the issue.

Many years later, Jacob returned to face the conflict he had caused by his earlier deception. But first the Lord met him face to face to humble and convict him. When he reunited with his family, Jacob was a changed man, trusting God instead of relying on his cheating schemes (see Genesis 32).

God of salvation, I have denied and avoided conflicts that I should have faced. Give me courage and wisdom to work on past problems as well as any that I am now involved in. 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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