Make-Up-Monday: How Does Conflict Glorify God?

by Merritt on June 18, 2012

I’m borrowing the topic of my next three Monday posts from Todd Wagner {of Watermark, our former church, in Dallas}. He was in Colorado last week with a few hundred folks for Watermark’s Family Camp—which is a truly amazing week of teaching, rest, fun and fellowship. I went to Family Camp a couple times when I was single, and one of those trips was truly impactful in my early efforts to really be publicly vulnerable and open about the struggles in my life. That experience deeply changed my relationships and my walk with Jesus from that point forward.

Those darn blueberries {as if it’s their fault!}

Now, having been away from our Dallas church family for close to a year, it was really a sweet experience for us to interact with our former pastor and have him teach at our new church, The Well, yesterday. He taught on conflict in an effort to “redeem” our understanding of it. He had three main points, so I thought I’d share about each one over the next three Make-Up-Mondays. When the sermon is posted, I’ll be sure to link to it if you’d like to hear the whole thing for yourself.

Point #1 – Conflict is an opportunity to glorify God.

You might not think of it this way. I know it takes effort for me to really “get” this, since I can think of countless examples in which this is not the case in my own life. In my heart, conflict usually results from pride, self-centeredness, unrealistic expectations or unmet desires. And most—if not all—of those do not glorify God.

Wagner illustrated the reality of conflict in our world as the result of the Fall of Man in Genesis 3. The first thing that happened was a loss of intimacy—man’s intimacy with God and man and woman’s intimacy with one another. Before sin, they were naked and unashamed, they walked together freely in the Garden, they weren’t aware of the differences between them. But after sin, they hid themselves from God, covered themselves with leaves, knew there was something to be ashamed of.

When God asked what had happened, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. And conflict entered the world. I wonder what God would have done if Adam or Eve had humbly admitted their sin. {I’m not sure it’s worth debating, but I do wonder.}

So how does conflict glorify God? When we allow Him to work in our hearts to seek resolution with someone we’ve wronged or someone who has wronged us.

A quick example: Yesterday morning I snapped at the Husband when he didn’t wash the blueberries he was dumping into his smoothie. Not a big deal, but that was my response. It wasn’t kind. It wasn’t loving. It didn’t glorify God. The Husband didn’t counter-attack. He just kept doing what he was doing. I knew immediately that my tone wasn’t loving…even if my intention was meant for “his good” {to eat clean fruit rather than dirty}, it was still unkind. I immediately acknowledged what I’d done and asked for his forgiveness. As usual, he was quick to say, “I forgive you,” and we went on with our day.

I think Wagner was right. Conflict glorifies God when one or both of us responds as a result of His work in our lives. The Husband didn’t lash out at me; I quickly realized my sin against him. Both are of God. And it’s only by His grace that I can see my sinful nature, acknowledge it’s there, turn away from it and call it what it is. I’m grateful for that.

Read Part 2: Conflict is an opportunity to serve others.

How have you seen conflict glorify God in your life? 

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