Conflict: Fight or Flee, is there a third choice?

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pess...

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pessimist would pick half empty, while the optimist would choose half full. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional Thought of the day:
 
14  Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. 15  Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. 16  Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. 17  Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. 18  If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. 19  Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” 20  Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. 21  Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.  Romans 12:14-21 (MSG)

 

An optimist looks at a 20 oz beverage container holding 10 oz of fluid and calls it half full. A pessimist looks at the same container and calls it half empty. I walk over drain the mug of beer, ticking off the optimist and the pessimist simultaneously. It was a good beer, the container served its purpose, and I caused opposing sides of an argument to be united. (against me – but that is cool) That’s a very good day! – Rev. Dt Parker

 

I have been thinking about conflict for a few days, as its come up in ministry to others quite frequently recently. Some are dealing with it at work, others in their homes or extended families, and yeah, some are dealing with it at church.

Normally, people deal with it (and indeed in any stress) in one of two ways – they fight or they flea. Some situations may seem to call for us to flee – to wait unti we are stronger, or we have all our resources marshalled.  Others may call for us to fight.  There are all sorts of works that teach us wisdom of each – I tend to lean to the classics – Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s Art of War were books given to me read in a leadership program I was once in.

But I have to wonder, is there another way.  Are we stuck in a binary choice, with no other option?

Can instead of engaging in war…can we try to engage to live in peace? Can we work with those we would rather fight or flee from – even if it means our being crucified?  Perhaps the answer is in remember we have been nailed to the cross already with Christ?  Therefore it is our old adam – our self before salvation – it c–n die and we can live humbly, serving those the world would tell us to knock out.  And if their antagonism does cause us harm, we can cope, because Christ coped and even chose to die, that those who crucified him would live.

This is a hard road – no matter if we stick with the normal binary choice – fight or flee, or if we realize the conflict isn’t about the ratio of liquid to container, but there is something deeper at stake… eternity.

What do you think?  Really want to know!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 1, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Indeed, the third option is not only possible, it is the one Jesus followed (1 Peter 2:21-23):

    21 For you were called to this,
    because Christ also suffered for you,
    leaving you an example,
    so that you should follow in His steps.
    22 He did not commit sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth;
    23 when He was reviled,
    He did not revile in return;
    when He was suffering,
    He did not threaten
    but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.

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