In part one of this series, I brought out the fact that conflict can and does happen in the church, even among solid believers, who are laboring for the gospel.
Today I want to give you five reasons we need to rid conflict from among ourselves.
5 Reasons We Need to Rid Conflict from Among Ourselves
In verse 2 of Philippians 4, Paul strongly appeals to Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mindset in the Lord. Then in verse 3, he asks the person he calls a “true companion” to help these women work out their differences. The fact that Paul includes this specific situation in the letter, appeals to these women publicly to work on their disagreement, and asks the church’s elder to help, tells us it is important for us to rid conflict from among ourselves.
So let’s ask and answer the question: Why is it so important for us to deal with conflict when it arises?
(1) Conflict hinders family unity
Those who are in the Lord should be united because they are family. The same Lord has died for all of us. The same Lord has called us to Himself. The same Lord will return for us, and it is this same Lord that we will be united to and live forever with in the new creation.
So then, we all experience the same thing because we are all in the same family, and those in a family should not be in conflict with one another.
(2) Conflict hinders our care for one another
As family, we are to take care of each other, looking out for one another’s well being. When there is conflict, we cannot and do not properly care for one another. Nor do we hold each other accountable, or minister to one another’s needs, whether they be physical or spiritual.
So then, we need to rid conflict from among us so we can properly care for one another.
(3) Conflict hinders our working together to spread and advance the gospel
In verse 3, Paul reminds these two women that they have labored with him to advance the gospel, giving them a reason they should settle their differences. You see, those who are in conflict don’t have a desire to work with each other. When that occurs, gospel ministry is hindered.
So then, we need to rid conflict from among us so we can work together to spread and advance the gospel.
(4) Conflict hinders our witness to the community
In Philippians 2:14-15, Paul writes:
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”
Conflict hinders our ability to work together, as well as it hinders our appearance to the world. The gospel is supposed to change us. It is supposed to create a community of believers who love and care for one another. If there is conflict, and we allow it to stew, there will be no evidence of love and care for one another. This means that nothing positive comes out of extended conflict in the church. It just gives the world an excuse to write the church off.
Recently, I read an article in a European publication about a church that had major internal conflict. Their conflict was so bad that they had actually hired two preachers.
But that is not the half of it. These two groups still met in the same building at the same time. They constructed two different pulpits. One in front of each of the two aisles in the church.What was supposed to be a time for the church to be fed from the Word of God turned out to be nothing more than a shouting match as these two preachers took the pulpit at the same time.
Of course, the article did not have kind words to say about the two groups. The churches conflict became more of a media spectacle than anything, ruining their gospel influence in the community. While that is an extreme case, it shows that conflict in a the church does real damage to our witness.
So then, if we want to shine as lights in the world, we need to quickly rid conflict from our midst.
(5) Conflict hinders our ability to glorify Christ
As Christians, our purpose in this life is to glorify Christ. If we are in conflict with one another, relationships are hindered, the gospel is not spread, accountability and growth does not occur, and we are not a light to the world. All this means that we are not glorifying Christ.
So then, we need to rid conflict from among us so we will not hinder our ability to glorify Christ, which is our God-given purpose.
Questions for Reflection
- Can you think of another reason we should rid conflict from among us?
- Have you experienced conflict in your church? If so, which one of these points relates to your experience?
A helpful resource to consult would be: Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Conflicts by Robert Jones