Life is long, and with a few exceptions there is much angst. We become infuriated over the simplest of things in retrospect, and only as we look back we are our own worst enemies. Conflict is a thing that becomes us in a flash. And in all this, there is the heart of God, grieving as if invisibly contained within heaven.
The conflicts that break God’s heart are those that become irredeemable. They occur over important issues and trivial matters, alike. And whilst there is sense in every conflict, there is just no sense in extrusions of parting where good friends (people trying to follow Jesus) – adult friends; family also – can be no more.
Knowing that God is grieved – the Divine heart broken in heaven – we then play out a choice; to turn back to God in repentance and heal our side of the rift, or we remain comparatively far from God in maintaining the pride contained within our resentment.
Again, the context is Christian unity; where we, as Christians, ought to get on.
Turning Conflict on Its Head
The greatest conflicts have the richest of histories and no one should undermine the damage done. Can the damage be undone? That is the great question. There will always be varying schools of thought on both sides of that camp. Sometimes it’s best that parties just part company, but we ought to believe that reconciliation is always possible.
It depends on both parties as to whether the damage can be undone or not.
Both parties have their half of the control and it takes both to work together, though only one party needs to start negotiations. God isn’t bothered who starts the negotiations; all that matters is that they are started in grace.
God can do something about the conflicts that break his heart, but it requires obedient humility on both sides of the argument, and also an abundance of patience in the side engaging in the peacemaking initially.
These are the facts:
Both sides did wrong. Both could have done better. Both are partially responsible; for both the conflict and the restoration if that is to occur. But equally, both sides were hurt and, therefore, both require compassion, and since they are likely to be the only ones interested in reconciliation – for they are the only ones who will benefit – compassion needs to be their mainstay toward the other; even beyond the hurt they continue to experience.
Christian conflicts break God’s heart; it wasn’t for disunity that Jesus hung on the cross. Knowing these grieve God, should we extend our conflicts one more day? We should do all we can to heal rifts with everyone we have conflicts with, and especially when it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.