It’s a challenge we each face regularly: How can we live in peace with other people and restore peace when conflict erupts?
The fact is, God desires for us to live in peace with others. He also knows that we’ll not always be at peace with others. Conflicts occur. At times, conflicts aren’t easily resolved. In fact, there are occasions when conflicts cannot be resolved. However, God wants us to do all we can to be at peace with everyone.
We who are followers of Christ know full well that when God isn’t in full control of our lives, we can act just as despicably as an unbeliever. Our salvation doesn’t automatically keep us from being mean, jealous, hateful, or angry. It’s only as we ask the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, only as we yield our nature to His nature, only as we seek to be His representatives on this earth in every relationship we have that we’re going to move beyond pride into the behaviors that establish peace.
So how do we deal with conflict when it arises and establish a peaceful outcome?
First, determine the value of the relationship. If you’re going to live in peace with another person, you have to decide, “Is this relationship valuable enough to me to preserve it? Am I willing to compromise on some things to make the relationship work?” I firmly believe that those who are saved by grace and indwelled by the Holy Spirit can find genuine peace in their relationship when both value the maintenance of the relationship.
Second, start talking … and keep talking. When two people are talking—and willing to keep talking and listening to each other—they’re much more likely to quickly find resolution to their conflicts and live in peace with each other.
Third, be transparent. You can’t have a hidden agenda or a manipulative scheme at work in the back of your mind and hope for a peaceful relationship. Being open and honest with others when conflicts arise helps you to reach peaceful solutions in your relationships.
Finally, get to the core of the problem. As you communicate openly with others, taking an honest look at what is at the root of the conflict, you’ll be better able to work through any difficulty and establish peace.
As you strive to live at peace with others, standing on the truth of God’s Word, know that God stands with you. He will turn any conflict or persecution you experience to your eternal benefit. He’ll bring about spiritual growth, greater faith, and stronger enduring power within you.