II. Basic Conflict Concepts
IV. The Author’s Life Lessons
BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES ON CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND PEACEMAKING
As descendants of Adam and Eve, one has a few realities to grapple with. This reality is based in the fact that one has a sin nature. Sin is present and influences everyday life. The world is evil, life is hard and conflict happens because sin is a reality of this world. One does not accept the world just as it is but makes an effort to reform it. Life is difficult but one seeks means by which to lighten the load along the broken road of life. One is motivated to exert resources toward improving the world and the living of life because he knows that the outcome is rewarding. Everyday people recycle and reuse to stop the horrors of global warming in an effort to improve the world. One is likely to work hard to keep physically fit in order to improve his quality of life. But why is it that only Miss America and anti-war campaigns scream for peace? Why does not every person strive and seek after peace? Why is one more likely to support Al Gore or spend hundreds of dollars each year sculpting firm abs than to spend a few hours dealing with conflict? The emphasis on the physical seems especially illogical when both the material world and one’s body will pass away. Peacemakers will be called ‘sons of God’ and live eternally (Matt 5:19). Will anyone remember the athletic, healthy supporters of the Green movement to save the world from global warming in eternity? This is yet to be seen. But one can know for sure that peacemaking through conflict has eternal benefits. Basic Concepts of Conflict
The Cause of Conflict
Scripture—quite literally from beginning to end—teaches that sin is the root cause of all conflict. The first book of the Bible describes a scene of conflict that has far ranging effects. Satan was in conflict with God his creator (Isa 14:12). Satan valued self proclamation and pride over God’s authority resulting in his demotion from Heaven. His retaliation was then upon the most cherished of God’s creation—man. Eve experienced conflict between what she understood to be true and the doubt that the serpent threw into her mind (Gen 1:6). The entrance of sin into the world resulted in immediate conflict between God and man. Man had conflict within because though he desired intimacy with God, he feared his vulnerability and nakedness (Gen 1:10). Man left the garden with many curses upon his head—most of which were relational (Gen 1:24). Women would be ruled by men. Man would fight to survive. God and man would not have perfect union. The fall of man was just the beginning of conflict internal and external. The evidences of conflict within and without are in everyday life. Internal and relational conflict is the result of sin which will continue to plague man until the final redemption of the world as described in the book of Revelation. Bleak as this may seem, God is a God of redemption. Through the provision of his son Jesus Christ, vertical redemption between God and man is possible. Christ’s sacrifice also provides for redemption of horizontal relationships—man-to-man. It is only through the application of the Gospel that conflict can truly be resolved. It is only through the sacrifice of one’s interests for the sake of others that conflict can be redeemed and used for the edification of man and the glory of God. Managing conflict for the glory of God and the preservation of relationships is no easy task. Conflict involves many factors, levels and influences. Each person benefits from understanding the complexity of conflict and recognizing his or her responsibility in conflict. This involves the correct attitude, focus and resources. Above all else it requires the humility to serve one another. Types of Conflict Management
Each situation requires different...