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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)

TITLE: The Blessing or Curse of Dispute
By Vicki GRECH


I was taught from an early age; "to respect the opinions of others". This meant that I was not to engage in "battle" over any opinions that may be different to my own. However, this is not to say I do not have a "voice". But only that when voicing my opinion, I do so in a gentle and loving manner and do not bend to the will of others for the sake of keeping peace. In actuality a disagreement could be described as "conflict", a place where too many fear to tread. Yet conflict opens up avenues for growth if we approach it (the disagreement), with a loving heart and a firm hand (self discipline). We surely cannot expect to resolve a conflict with a negative approach, very few people if any, will respond positively to negativity. After-all, disagreements more-so than agreements open up channels of lengthy communication. It is usually here that we learn from others and as an added bonus, learn to build bridges!

Jesus had the art of dealing with conflict mastered! He tackled them head-on, He responded to each issue raised in disagreement with a positive attitude and response. He displayed a humbleness, maintained a tender heart, and gently prompted his opponent to "think". As with any situation in life we are presented with, it is our approach and response that will make all the difference to the outcome. If we tackle disagreements with tenderness, love and self discipline, we pave the way for growth. However, I believe if the ego is allowed a place in the disagreement it is escalated to conflict. A place too few, if any true Christians care to be.

God's creation from nature to humanity is perfect in every way! Even disagreements have their place in the Master's Plan for each of us. Imagine for just a moment if we were agreed with in every instance! Sounds nice, but in practicality this would retard our growth with horrendous consequences. We would never be presented with an opportunity to widen our own perceptive and learn from others. We need to understand and consider that in wisdom and sovereignty, God is able to use conflict to accomplish His divine will. God always acts and even allows circumstances and events for a purpose. According to my understanding, this purpose is always about "growth" of the human spirit in trying to become a better person and do God's will. Whilst we maintain our faith in God's wisdom and do not rely on our own human logic, we will do well in every and any situation we are confronted with. Disagreements or conflict open channels of healthy energy to be embraced, and peaceably worked through to bring about a greater understanding of ourselves and others in our relational spheres.

One of the many dangers I have found in disagreements or conflicts is that as Christians we are taught to avoid conflict at any cost. We are taught; "be the peace-maker", no matter what. Sorry folks, this is more-so a myth than a reality! An over-used element of Scripture that has seen many fall into abuse and sin. Even Jesus had his share of disagreements that escalated into conflict. But on each occasion Jesus did not bend to the will of others. He tackled each confrontation promptly, timely and head-on with a loving heart. In walking away from disagreements we deny ourselves and others an opportunity to grow! In addition to this, we fail to properly investigate and address "misunderstandings" that led to the disagreement in the first instance.

Disagreements or conflicts can be either a constructive or destructive force. It is the response to the situation that will determine the better outcome. I read an extract from an article recently; "the difference between spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. (Larry Crabb, The Safest Place on Earth, Nashville: Word Publishing, 1999 Page 40).

We can "love our way through conflict"! A challenge I have found not too many can rise up to and execute the model framework Jesus had set by physical example in managing conflict.

Effective conflict managers act promptly, exercise patience, maintain respect and know how to balance truth (confrontation), and love (reconciliation). Extract from: Conflict Management Study by: Kenneth Boa.

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This article has been read 369 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 01/26/12
WOnderful job with this! I really enjoyed it. Descriptive and on topic.
Nicely done. God Bless~
Dimple Suit01/27/12
Motivational and devotional. Good job in showing how we should 'speak truth in love' to settle misunderstandings, not avoid them.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/30/12
I enjoyed this essay on disagreement and avoiding conflict. It is true sometimes people feel to be nice, we must avoid conflict. But actually the opposite is quite true. I think you could have really hit your message by giving an example of Jesus. He without sin cast the first stone would be a great example of your message. He wasn't avoiding conflict there--just the opposite. You did a nice job wrapping up your points and coming back to the beginning.
Verna Mull 02/01/12
Great essay. I liked the fact that you presented. We are taught to always be peace makers, which does lead to a lot of real problems that would not exist if the right attitude, accompanied with standing for your beliefs, were exercised. Acquiescence leads to domination.