“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29-30
You know the feeling. The bitter taste in your mouth. The rise of anger in your heart. The dreadful moment when conflict is brought up that you most terribly wanted to avoid. Maybe you experienced some sort of strife between your family members this Christmas around the dinner table, or maybe years have passed since the gruesome debate. I don’t know about you, but most times I want to flee from conflict as much as possible and keep the peace between loved ones. But instead, it festers, deepens, and thickens.
Whether it’s theological differences, political differences, or just personality differences, conflict is inevitable. We have a sinful, fallen nature—we are complicated creatures with a skewed version of right and wrong. The question is not whether conflicts will come, but how we should handle them when they do come.
It’s the toughest times and most brutal conversations where the light of God’s grace shines the brightest. In the midst of our conflict, an opportunity for grace is awaiting its arrival. It is the same grace God showed us by sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. It’s the same grace in the life of the Apostle Paul, who endured conflict after conflict for the sake of the advancement of the Gospel (Philippians 1:12). If you have conflict amidst your family, do not avoid it; rather, use it as a means to portray the grace and mercy Christ has shown you. Forgive, acknowledge your own weakness and sinfulness, and move forward in faith knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35).
Father, the conflict in my life has weighed heavily on my shoulders. Help me to be forgiving to those who have wronged me, and help me to ask for forgiveness to those whom I have wronged. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Encourage me to stand bold at the foot of the cross. Amen.
Is there conflict in your life that needs to be resolved? Go to your loved ones and address the conflict. Use this opportunity to show them love, grace, and mercy—just as Christ has shown you.