"It seems to me that we'd watch virtually all of the conflicts in our lives disappear if we let go of the lie that our opinions and feelings matter more than anyone else's...."
I posted that on Facebook a few days ago after chewing on some thoughts from the series we're going through at care group on relational conflict. It's just frustrating because, like so many things, even Christians tend to treat the symptoms rather than the root cause. Almost as an afterthought, they mentioned that it's a good idea to think twice and try to nip conflict in the bud before it turns into a fight. As if to say there's no way around starting chaotic conflict in the first place.
I'm not saying I don't have opinions. And I'm not saying I never disagree with anyone, even to the point of frustration! But... I don't insist on getting my way. And I don't have those kinds of conflicts. It never gets to that point. It never gets out of control, y'know? Conflict doesn't HAVE to be unavoidable! Especially the kind that causes relational DAMAGE!
I think it's interesting too - my statement on FB isn't overtly Christian. It's just logic. It's just true. Which is how Christianity IS - it's never nonsense rules and regulations but sensible aids to make our lives and relationships better and more fulfilling. That's not to say it's not also true that as Christians we have additional reasons to love - we have a bigger picture and a bigger God to be distracted by. Just like a non-Christian couple can have an incredibly satisfying, lifelong marriage if they choose to practice humility and patience, but Christians have even more reasons to fight together rather than in opposition to one another.
Still, there's a difference in my mind between having truths to remind yourself of... and being in a place where you don't HAVE to be reminded because the truths you know have changed your default reactions to your world. You don't get angry and then keep it in check... you just don't get angry. You don't act spitefully and then ask for forgiveness... you just act out of love. Your first response to disrespect is gentleness rather than indignation.
I'm certainly not suggesting I've "made it" anywhere. But I do see progress. I do see improvement. And I see a need to dig deeper rather than taking it for granted that we'll never get over certain things. You always hear that "Only God can change the heart" but do we acknowledge that such change also takes a lot of cooperation, hard work, humility, thinking, and persistence on our part? I wonder sometimes if we truly act like the heart can be changed at all, or if we've merely resigned ourselves to treating symptoms....