“Conflict Resolution”

According to the History Channel, there was bad blood between two very famous and creative inventors. Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla had very different ideas about the best form of electricity for the future—AC or DC. Tesla was a proponent of alternating current whereas Edison advocated direct current. The writers of the documentary said that Edison had grown rich through his union with the industrial giants of his time, and used Tesla’s talents but reneged on the promises he had made to reward him financially. Edison claimed in the media that AC was dangerous and tried to smear Tesla’s name. However, it seems that most of Tesla’s ideas have been validated today. The point, however, is that instead of trying to resolve the conflict and use both of their theories for the betterment of society, both men allowed the feud to fester. Does this sound like Congress, many competing companies, marital quarrels and many other relationships? Rather than compromise for the good of the public and peace, many people choose to demand their cause be accepted while defaming their rivals.

A conflict can vary from a mild variance of opinion through disagreement, quarrel, discord, opposing demands to struggle, clash, contention, collision and finally physical battle. It appears that Satan may have passed through some of these types of conflict (Eze 28:11, 15-18) until he and his angels waged war against God. They lost the war and also lost their place in heaven (Rev 12:7-9). They will someday be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur forever (Mt 25:41) (Rev 20:10). Until that time Satan continues to lead the whole world astray by urging mankind to follow his example of war instead of resolution (Re 12: 7-9).

The Bible mentions many examples of conflicts—Cain and Abel, David and Absalom, Paul and Barabbas, etc, etc. The ones that weren’t resolved usually ended in estrangement or death. However, as Christ’s church we have been given many commands on how to live peacefully with all people and the tools of resolution. Most of them involve humility (Jas 4:6) (1 Pe 5:5). One can’t always live in peace if another wants conflict, but as much as it depends on us, live in peace with everyone (Rom 12:18). Even if others are not your brethren, treat them with wisdom and respect (Col 4:5) (1 Th 4:12). Perhaps if we discover the burdens they carry, we can avoid conflict by helping them bear those burdens (Gal 6:2).

—Jim Bailey