Throughout the ages, as long back as anyone can ever remember and history documents, humankind has always had trouble getting along with others. The Old and New Testaments are riddled with conflicts, and wars within and outside of the Jewish and Christian faiths. You read about it in history books, and you hear about it in the news everyday. We’re always struggling with conflict. It’s around the world, it’s between countries, it’s in our nation, it’s around the corner, and it’s within our households.
Conflict causes division, and division causes conflict. One thing is for sure where conflict and division exist, they cause separation. It’s a vicious cycle, where one feeds on the other. And where this cycle exists we have disharmony and anger wherever the conflict takes place.
Where does the root of these kinds of conflicts stem? From within each of us – we have ideas, desires, wants, and needs. And we will promote our ideas, desires, wants, and needs. When we feel strongly about these things and others feel exactly opposite, well then you have the setting for conflict to arise.
But there’s another, bigger source of conflict that exists. It’s the age old conflict of good verses evil. God verses the Devil. Satan, the enemy, whispers to each of us lies about ourselves, others, and the world in an attempt to stir up such conflict. This classic strategy of divide and conquer is a perfect scenario for the enemy to use. If the Devil can distract or derail us, then he knows that we lose our effectiveness to demonstrate God’s love to the hurting of the world. You’ve heard the saying that actions speak louder than words, well it’s true. Get involved in sniping with someone else, and you’ve demonstrated the very type of behavior that fuels Satan’s fire and discredits your witness. He loves to pit us against others. And we fall prey for this tactic of the enemy, over and over and over again.
Don’t like the conflict? Don’t like the division? Where do you start? The saying that is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (although he did not actually say these words) “Be the change you want to see in the world,” applies here.
Recognize that you, as a Christian, get your power from God. His Holy Spirit resides in you, and the Holy Spirit guides you as to right from wrong. You can’t listen to the Holy Spirit while you are immersed in anger because you are consuming yourself from within. You can’t listen to the Holy Spirit when you are sniping at someone else.
You must change, and to do so you need to carve out time in the Word and quiet to become fortified. It’s intentional on your part. Ask God to guide you. Ask Him to make a change in your heart, and ask Him to change the hearts of others to be in alignment with Him. But, first start with yourself.
Praying Psalm 51:10 helps me to focus. It may not always work for me, especially if I don’t take the time to recognize that the root of the conflict stems from Satan and selfish desires. Change has to intentionally start with me, through God’s empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV