Monday, September 6, 2010

"Conflict Resolution - Rejoice!" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 193
“Conflict Resolution – Rejoice!”

By Rev. Greg Smith

Sometimes we find ourselves in conflicts. Nobody likes conflict, but are all conflicts bad? Author and pastor Chuck Swindoll writes:

Several years ago I met a gentleman who served on one of Walt Disneys' original advisory boards. What amazing stories he told! Those early days were tough; but that remarkable, creative visionary refused to give up. I especially appreciated the man's sharing with me how Disney responded to disagreement. He said that Walt would occasionally present some unbelievable, extensive dream he was entertaining. Almost without exception, the members of his board would gulp, blink, and stare back at him in disbelief, resisting even the thought of such a thing. But unless every member resisted the idea, Disney usually didn't pursue it. Yes, you read that correctly. The challenge wasn't big enough to merit his time and creative energy unless they were unanimously in disagreement  (Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.107)

So just because you’re having conflict, that doesn’t mean that good things aren’t happening. Maybe your conflict indicates that powerful forces are at work, and a great dream is about to be brought to reality.

Last week we talked about a conflict in the church at Philippi, between Euodia and Syntyche. In Philippians 2, Paul encourages the two women to find joy. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice (verse 4)!” This seems so outlandish a suggestion that Paul feels the need to say it twice. So great may be the conflict in your life right now that you can’t even imagine rejoicing once! Yet Paul says twice that we need to express our joy to God—even in the midst of difficulty. By choosing joy, you can let God lift you above the circumstance and into His glory.

James 1:2-5 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

Joy isn’t something that comes naturally when you’re in the midst of conflict. But joy is something you can choose. You don’t rejoice because of the struggle—you rejoice in the Lord, always. You rejoice because God has been good to you, because He is seeing you through, and because He is creating in you the personality traits that He wants you to have for His glory. Only when you learn to rejoice in the midst of conflict will have the peace you need to get through it.

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