“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” ~1 Corinthians 10:31
We’re studying conflict management and peace-making in a Wednesday night class here at Legacy. I’m not teaching it. Kipi is. And, man, I’m learning a lot.
I’m learning that the way we handle conflict is greatly influenced by all kinds of different factors such as personality, age, gender, upbringing, and even socio-economic status. I’m learning that until I understand my own conflict management style, I’ll never adequately understand yours enough to resolve our issues. I’m being reminded that I can only change myself, I’ll never change you. And it’s being reaffirmed in here that, yes, there is a big difference between peace-keeping and peace-making.
I’ve learned that my “conflict style” is to try to build relationship and consensus by getting everyone’s thoughts out on the table for open and honest discussion and evaluation. But it seems I’m just as likely to “give and take” as I am to “compete” in a conflict situation. Oops. That’s not good. I’ve also had it confirmed in interviews with co-workers here in the church offices that Carrie-Anne’s been absolutely right about me in a lot of ways for many years. That’s not all good either.
I’m learning. At least I’m more aware of my strengths and shortcomings now and am working to be a better communicator and conflict resolver. Mostly, though, I think we could all benefit from what Kipi shared with us this week:
Conflict is NEVER an opportunity to force my will on others.
Conflict is NEVER an inconvenience.
Conflict is ALWAYS an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and power.
I believe our God uses our conflicts with each other to shape us more into the image of his Son. The ways we treat others, especially in times of stress or disagreement, reveal exactly what kind of a person we are. Our motivations in those conflicts say a lot about our continuing transformation by the Spirit. It’s not easy when you ask a hundred people — or a thousand — to get intimately involved in each other’s lives. It’s messy. We’re all different. We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made to be different. Our great diversity is intentional. It’s God-ordained. Getting along with each other is the goal. It’s what molds us into the image of our Creator.
Conflict is ALWAYS an opportunity.
Thanks, Kipi. I like that. And I’m trying to see it that way now.
When the Soviet Union collapsed 20-years ago, we flooded Russia with Christian missionaries. In that time, several churches have been established and Christianity is flourishing there. Slowly but surely, I suppose. One of the great works and proof of our God’s activity in Russia is the Institute of Theology and Christian Ministry in St. Petersburg. Several of our Church of Christ University Bible professors, including my brother, Keith, at Harding, volunteer to teach there for a quick semester on their own dime. Igor Egirev, President of ITCM will be speaking at the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas Tuesday evening May 18th. The Psalom Quartet, also from St. Petersburg, will be singing at the event. They’ve edified us before at an Austin Grad Sermon Seminar. It’s beautiful. It should be a wonderful evening. I recommend it.
I’m hearing today that Cowboys’ number-one pick Dez Bryant is going to wear #88 in Dallas. I’m wondering if it’s because of Jerry Wayne’s outrageous debt and that mortgage on the Dome. You know, he still had a bunch of Antonio Bryant’s old #88s in a closet downstairs and figured, yeah, let’s do it. You think there’s any six-or-seven-year-old Bryant souvenirs in a Cowboys warehouse somewhere that they’re digging out today? I’m concerned that this Bryant is going to remind us more of Michael Irvin than Drew Pearson. You know, there are reasons he slipped down to 24th overall. His best friend and unofficial agent, Deion Sanders, is probably somewhere on that list.